European Supergrid – Ukrainian opportunity?September 23, 2011
Is the list of website subscriptions and twitter identities you follow a reflection on who you are? I think quite probably it is, in which case, my children even though in their twenties and therefore no longer juvenile (at least in the strictest sense of the word) would look at who and what I follow on twitter and the websites that I subscribe to and place me firmly in the category of “Sad”. A definition they would apply to me being in their eyes, boring, based upon the tweets and email notifications I get daily from entities like the UN, OSCE, EU, Energy Ministry of Ukraine, Houses of Parliament, RADA etc.
Hmmm – maybe not as fashionable as it could be (possibly even “sad”, but following Lady GaGa is not really me.
Also a thank you to HM Amb Leigh Turner who not only reads this blog frequently but has also decided to follow me on twitter (I can be found under OdessaBlogger on twitter). I must admit to not tweeting very often, although I will do my best to change that, and what I normally do is re-tweet matters pertaining to Ukraine from the enlightened rather than informing you all that I am just going to the shop, which dear children, I would consider a “sad” thing to do.
Anyway, a day or so ago, I received an email notification from the House of Commons website relating to a committee report entitled “Energy and Climate Change – Seventh Report. European Supergrid” and the European policy of trying to connect a grid of both conventional and alternative energy producing nodes.
Of course a good idea although one hopes it will be done in the most environmentally and ecologically friendly way possible when deciding when and where to put cables below or above ground.
Now Ukraine has recently joined the Energy Community on the continent recently and prior to this exported electricity to Poland, is a transit nation for gas and oil, has huge untapped (yet) hydrocarbon reserves both on and off shore and is very much wanting to be involved in the transit of hydrocarbons from the Caspian Sea to Poland and the Czech Republic via extensions to the Odessa-Brody pipeline.
Its first commercial solar farm is now on line and it has a huge expanse of land and coastline available to alternative energy production.
However, amongst my “sad” website subscriptions is one to the Energy Ministry of Ukraine which is quick to send headlines and a few accompanying words, but nothing as in depth as the link above and the results of the ruminations of the enlightened.
There is no doubt that the current administration has a great interest in being an integral part of the European power grid in a far more meaningful way than simply being a transit nation for Russian oil and gas. The EU has offered Ukraine unconditional entrance to any EU projects it wishes to participate in as long as Ukraine picks up its own bills in doing so.
Just as the UK parliamentary committee notes that UK grid is far beyond the “patching up” stage and in need of complete renewal, the same can be said for the Ukrainian system. In a country that is bigger than France and a population only 66% (ish) the size of the UK, you would expect far less NIMBY’s here than in the UK as the country is just nowhere near as congested and has less mechanisms for NIMBY’s to interfere in the strategies of government.
Such mechanisms do exist and are not necessarily circumvented as some would suggest is always the case. It just happens that if there is likely to be a protest against a specific project, public meetings to discuss them are not always that well advertised (but are advertised to comply with the rules) and although held, may take place at 0500 one morning to insure the minimum attendance whilst technically adhering to the rules.
So, what is Ukraine doing about participation in the European Supergrid? I know for a fact from those I have talked to who would undoubtedly know, there is a great deal of interest in involvement to a noticeable level but actions speak louder than words. In the absence of words, or to be correct, the presence of a few words none of which answer the question, actions would speak louder.
Any sign of any action?
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