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13:28 PM Monday, November 20, 2017
Energy
China II: Developing Sun and Wind Power in Ukraine
China, the world’s leader in solar panels and wind turbines, invests in renewable energy across Ukraine, a nation bigger than California
image/svg+xml Kyiv Lutsk Rivne Zhytomyr Lviv Ternopil Khmelnytskyi Uzhgorod Chernivtsi Vinnytsia Chernigiv Sumy Kharkiv Poltava Cherkasy Kirovohrad Lugansk Dnipropetrovsk Donetsk Zaporizhzhia Mykolaiv Odesa Kherson Simferopol Sevastopol Ivano- Frankivsk

KYIV – Last year, China, the world’s largest solar power producer, became the largest solar producer in Ukraine.

This year, China, the world’s largest wind power generator, wants to become the largest wind power producer in Ukraine.
While many Ukrainians look in the rear view mirror and worry about Russia and Gazprom, a big chunk of the nation’s energy future will be with China and renewables.

For example, representatives of TBEA, an engineering company based in China’s windswept west, came to Kyiv last month and proposed building a 500 MW wind turbine farm in Mykolaiv region.

“Ukraine welcomes the company's interest in the opportunities to invest in the energy sector of our country,” Natalia Boiko, Ukraine’s deputy minister of Energy, told the Chinese. TBEA representatives also met with Ukrenergo, the state power generation and distribution company, and Energorynok, the state energy market regulator.

Before inauguration in April, Ukrainian workers make final adjustments to Chinese-made panels a $10 million solar park in Yavoriv, Lviv region. (UNIAN)

New Incentives for ‘Green Energy’

The timing is right. In April, the Rada approved a ‘green energy’ feed in tariff schedule that put solar, wind, biomass and hydro rates at higher levels than in much of the European Union.

Then, last week Ukraine’s Cabinet of Minister’s approved an ambitious new national energy strategy that increases renewables, largely solar and wind, to 25 percent by 2035, from 4 percent today.

“The government will work to attract foreign investors in the green energy sector,” China’s Xinhua news agency reported from Kyiv.

Chinese companies are studying big investments in the energy sources of the future.

Last November, in a $1 billion dollar deal, Beijing-based China National Building Material Co., took ownership of Ukraine’s largest solar farm -- 10 solar plants, with a total of 267 MW, across southern Ukraine. The takeover was the resolution of a Yanukovych-era deal where Austrian and Ukrainian investors could not keep up with payments on solar panel and equipment imported from China in 2011-2012.

Built in the 1970s for nuclear power, Chernobyl’s 750Kv transmission lines can be restored and reconnected to Ukraine’s national power grid. In the 2020s, Ukraine's capital, 100km to the south, could be powered by solar energy. (UNIAN)

Chernobyl: Solar Power Replace Nuclear Power?

In a similarly sized deal, two Chinese companies want to build Ukraine’s largest solar array on contaminated land around the old Chernobyl nuclear complex. The solar farm would generate one gigawatt of power and would plug into to existing power lines, built to carry four gigawatts from the Chernobyl’s four nuclear reactors.

Several other foreign companies want to build in the Chernobyl area. Engie, the French electricity giant, is performing a feasibility study for Ukraine's government. Chernobyl’s central exclusion zone is 30 square kilometers. That should be enough room for Engie and the two Chinese companies, GCL System Integration Technology Co. and China National Complete Engineering Corp.

Chinese Solar Farms on the Black Sea Coast

Turning to Ukraine’s sunny south, the same two Chinese companies have signed protocols for solar projects in Odesa, Mykolaiv and Kherson.

Last year, Kherson saw the inauguration of the kind of small scale Chinese solar project that may be the future for Ukraine. China’s Sungrow Power Supply Co brought on line a 4 MW solar plant in Vysokopillya.

While few of these projects win publicity, they are driven by China’s position as producer of the majority of solar panels in the world. Over the last decade, installation costs of solar panels, have fallen by about two thirds, to about $3.30 per watt.

Stepan Kubiv, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, seen here last spring with Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, is a backer of solar energy in Ukraine, a nation long dependent on gas imports. (UNIAN/Vladislav Musienko)

Kubiv: From Solar Park in Lviv to Solar Talks in Beijing

Reflecting Ukraine’s high level interest in Chinese solar technology, Stepan Kubiv, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, attended the inauguration in late April of a $10 million, 10 MW solar park in Yavoriv, 60 km west of Lviv. The park, Osernaya, was fitted by panels made by JA Solar, of Shanghai.

Two weeks later, Kubiv, who is also Ukraine’s First Vice Prime Minister, was in Beijing, where he met with executives of China Pacific Construction Group to discuss the construction of solar plants in Ukraine.

Solar accounted for 93 percent, or 118.1 MW, of Ukraine's renewable energy capacity installed in the first half of this year, according to Ukraine’s Department of Energy Efficiency. Biogas followed with 5.5 MW, and small hydro contributed 2.9 MW.

“Sun, wind and biomass, bio gas, briquettes – they are all interesting to China’s manufacturers,” says Ruslan Osypenko, CEO of China Trade Association, a business group based here.

Burning Wood and Corn Stalks for Power

Two Chinese companies are considering building bio-thermal plants in Ukraine, Interfax reported last month.

Near the Polish border, Shandong Qingneng Power is studying building a thermal power plant in Dobromyl, Lviv region, in partnership with the city’s woodworking plant and a local forestry company, JV Ukrlisholding.

In central Ukraine's Zhytomyr region, Xi’an ShaanGu Power is considering building a 6.7 MW biofuel thermal power plant.

With Chinese business interest broadening, Ukraine’s government now extends to Chinese business and tourist visitors 15-day visas on arrival, at both of Kyiv international airports. Nest year, Ukraine International Airlines plans to start direct flights from Boryspil to Shanghai, China's business capital.

Slider: In April, a Ukrainian priest blessed Chinese made solar panels at new 10 MW solar farm in Yavoriv, mid-way between Lviv and Polish border. (UNIAN)

For comments and story tips, please email UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke at james.brooke@theubj.com

Posted Aug. 23, 207

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