Andriy Konechenkov: Wind power can become a key factor in green hydrogen production

Andriy Konechenkov, the Chairman of the Board of the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association (UWEA), who five years ago was among the organizers of the first wind-hydrogen forum in Ukraine, also considers projects that combine renewable energy and green hydrogen to be very promising. However, before embarking on their implementation, it is necessary to analyze the possibilities and achievements and develop specific plans for the near future, emphasized the Chairman of the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association during an international online conference "Development of hydrogen technologies in the world. New opportunities".

Andriy Konechenkov, the Chairman of the Board of the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association (UWEA)

As the speaker believes that wind energy can become a key factor in green hydrogen production, interesting facts about this field were presented in the conference speech:

- Currently, the wind power capacity of Ukraine, excluding temporarily occupied Crimea, is 1754.5 MW. Despite the war, last year wind farms with a total capacity of 81.6 MW were built in territories where active combat operations were not taking place. An additional 1 GW was planned for last year, with contracts signed and equipment partially imported, but the war changed the plans, said Andriy Konechenkov. According to experts' estimates, the russian federation caused damage to the Ukrainian economy amounting to $137.8 billion, including $50 million in wind and solar energy. Ukraine also lost €500 million as the operation of wind power plants was suspended. Currently, 1317 MW of wind energy production capacity is located in the occupied territories, 7 turbines have been damaged and 5 have been lost due to missile attacks. 75% of wind farms are suspended.

However, the current situation has not changed the belief that wind power generation is an important component of renewable energy in Ukraine, which strives for energy independence. Currently, the National Renewable Energy Development Plan has been developed, which aims to increase the level of renewable energy production to 27% by 2030. For comparison, approximately 9% of such energy was produced in 2020. This plan includes an increase in capacity from 3.7 GW to 5.4 GW by 2030. 

Speaking at a conference on post-war recovery in Ukraine in Switzerland last July, our Minister of Energy emphasized that the new capacity should be used to produce green hydrogen. And with the help of such capacity, the volume of renewable energy sources is expected to increase by 30 GW by 2032. Andriy Konechenkov considers these statements quite optimistic, as the war in Ukraine is ongoing, and time is needed to restore the power grid, conduct appropriate research, and so on. And then it will be necessary to quickly develop the construction of wind and solar power plants, which will enable the production of green hydrogen in Ukraine.

 

Without the support of the Ukrainian government, there will be no quick progress in this area - says the expert. He sees it necessary for the state to designate wind energy as one of the priority areas for investment in the energy sector, to set clear goals for wind energy development in Ukraine for both the near future and until 2050. Additionally, a financial mechanism should be introduced to increase funding and accelerate the development of both offshore and onshore wind energy. The introduction of a carbon dioxide emissions tax at the average level for the European Union, rather than the current rate of $1 per 1,000 tons in Ukraine, will provide additional funding for wind energy development.

There is also a need for the development of the engineering sector for the production of wind turbines and components in partnership with EU countries. Such a program currently exists in Poland, Romania, and the Czech Republic. If Ukraine follows this path, it will create jobs and modern infrastructure for production.

The speaker considers Ukraine's potential in wind power generation to be enormous. Together with the "Ukrainian Hydrogen Council", the Institute of Renewable Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and the company Asters, the White Book 2021 was prepared regarding the potential development of offshore wind energy and green hydrogen energy. Currently, a memorandum has been signed between Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Georgia, which Romania recently joined. The agreement involves the creation of an offshore wind energy zone in the Black Sea. With the support of the World Bank, it is projected that there will be 250 GW of installed capacity of offshore wind turbines in Ukraine, and this potential can be fully utilized for green hydrogen production.

According to the speaker, work in this direction should start with legislation, planning for offshore areas, developing a regulatory framework for both land and water territory, and conducting an appropriate environmental impact assessment. However, all of this can be done quickly and effectively with the support of the authorities and by implementing European experience.