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Mind the energy gap – Odessa blackouts

December 10, 2014

In creating a priority “to do” list for the Ukrainian political class, its current leadership and legislative chamber, what would be amongst the items topping the list when there is so much to do?

Of course the answer to that depends upon how broad in scope any cleverly worded items on the list can be interpreted – but here are five worthy contenders amongst many:

1.  A definitive move from rule by law, to rule of law.  (Constitutional and judicial reform etc).

2.  A genuine and robust fight against corruption. (that yields actual results noticed by the public etc.)

3.  Energy.  (Conservation, efficiency, diversity, production, infrastructure etc.)

4.  Economics.  (A broad church by any definition.)

5.  Security/defence.  (Obviously in the current circumstances.)

And it is energy that is the focus of this short entry – in particular, energy and its planned absence in Odessa.

According to Ukrenergo, there is currently an imbalance between energy production and energy consumption that requires some management.

Hardly news as the date of the above tweet makes clear, Odessa has been suffering outages since 2nd December, though the accident at Zaporozhye is not entirely to blame.  Ukrenergo further state that due to a lack of coal stocks held at the national power plants, a lack of water resources for the hydroelectric plants, and 27 power generation plants being off line for emergency repair – none of which are Ukrenergo plants they are at pains to point out – requires the rationing of power to Odessa.

A list of times for shut-offs per street can be found here.

No mention is made by Ukrenergo of the fiasco/incompetence/negligence/shenanigans surrounding the contracted purchase of South African coal via Steel Mont as a contributory factor – and it is a factor that clearly has ramifications.

The upshot of it all is that Odessa has been tasked with saving 130 MW, and that results in the above linked planned rotating blackouts.  Whether other Ukrainian cities have also been tasked with preparing scheduled blackouts is rather difficult to ascertain thus far.  If so, the information is proving very difficult to find.

Nevertheless, where ever energy was sitting upon the government “to do” list, meeting the immediate generation difficulties has no doubt bumped it up the list – so whilst it is there and has the attention of government, also addressing the issues of energy diversification, domestic production, efficiency, conservation etc., would seem a wise course of action.  The continued attention span of political leadership with any issue is often found wanting after all.

Meanwhile, if the usually punctual blog entries become sporadic and/or less than timely, then dear readers, you now know why that may be.

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