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Grid integration – ENTSO-E

July 19, 2017

19th July 2017 marked 600 days without Ukraine buying Russian gas.

Quite an achievement and in no small part due to friendly nations toward Ukraine stepping up to the plate when needed.

Historically gas always seems to have taken the headlines when it comes to the Ukrainian energy mix – predominantly of course, due to The Kremlin having used gas as both carrot and stick to both please and punish the Ukrainian elite via the associated corruption and enormous wealth that came with it, as well as a lever to stoke social unrest and populist (almost reflexive control) politics in mid-winter.

Thus it is the latest in a string of less headline-grabbing electricity market reform issues that catches the eye.

On 28th June 2017, CEO of the State Owned Enterprise (SOE) Ukrenergo, Vsevolod Kovalchuk signed an agreement regarding the terms of the interconnection of the Ukrainian grid to that of ENTSO-E (the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity).  ENTSO-E is comprised of 41 system operators from 34 countries.  Needless to say when it comes to energy security in the form of electricity, this is perhaps a matter of national security.  Russian electricity plays its out-sized part in the Ukrainian electricity market as Russian gas used to do.

However there is much to be done before acceding to the ENTSO-E network.  It is not as simple a matter as the reverse flow gas agreements rapidly thrashed out between friendly sovereign states.

Ahead are years of work to be realistic.

There are few ways to expedite Ukraine meeting the technical and legislative requirements.  By way of comparable and facilitating legislation Ukraine is absolutely nowhere near the ENTSO-E requirements.  Compliance with regard to hard and software will require robust argument to allocate sufficient budgetary funding over a period of several years to reach the standards necessary.  There are, as there always is, vested interests domestically to overcome too.

Perhaps the only possible way to concentrate minds, overcome probable legislative delays, find sufficient funding, and steamroll over vested interests, is to firmly and publicly fix the matter as one of national security and/or national interest, thus rudely dumping the problem upon the agenda of the NSDC (National Security and Defence Council) forcing it to take the lead.

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