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Large-scale energy construction: How to make the large-scale upgrade of the energy infrastructure

On October 27, Vitalii Nykolaienko, CEO of Voltage Group, took part in a meeting of Energy Club members together with other experts. The topic of the meeting included discussions on Large-scale energy construction: How to make the large-scale upgrade of the energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

Given the critical wear and tear of Ukraine's power system equipment, there is a need for measures to overhaul existing power grids - as evidenced by the worst among European countries, the index of the average duration of long power outages in the system (SAIDI).

Given the critical wear and tear of Ukraine's power system equipment, there is a need to take measures to overhaul existing power grids - as evidence, we have the worst index of the average duration of long power outages in the system (SAIDI) among European countries.

Vitaliy Shayda, General Director of DTEK Kyiv Regional Electric Networks, noted that in Ukraine the SAIDI indicator is 698 minutes, while in European countries it is 100 minutes. One of the positive changes Vitaliy Shayda noted is the possibility of using online services for connecting producers of renewable energy sources (RES) to the grid of distribution system operator (DSO), which greatly simplified the procedure of submitting and processing relevant documentation and allows customers to monitor all stages of this procedure remotely. However, such improvements have increased the number of connections and, consequently, the network load. At the same time, there is a growing need to increase the number of qualified personnel for quality network management and quick execution of relevant works. It is important that the transition of Ukraine to RAB regulation will allow investing more in the construction of new and improvement of existing networks. This will make the network more reliable and will gradually reduce the SAIDI.

According to Oleg Pavlenko, Investment Director of Ukrenergo, there is already a 10-year investment program, the implementation of which is being actively worked on. Such a development plan provides for investments of UAH 75 billion in the network over 10 years. The main sources of funding are tariff funds and funds of international partners - development banks (about 70%). Within the framework of this 10-year program for the networks reconstruction, it is planned to upgrade 107 substations, 19 of which are currently in the active stage of reconstruction. An automated process control system is also being introduced to increase reliability and optimize operating costs for network maintenance. One of the largest projects is the integration of Ukraine into the European network ENTSO-E.

In addition, the legislation is currently being adapted for the possibility of implementing BESS (Battery Energy Storage System), as with the commissioning of a large number of RES, the issue of increasing Ukraine's maneuverable capacities remains open.

As it turned out as a result of experts' discussion, the most difficult thing is not to attract funding for network upgrades, but to implement projects due to the limited number of qualified personnel.

Yuriy Bondarenko, Vice President of SIGRE-Ukraine, General Director of NTK ENPASELECTRO LLC, Honored Power Engineer of Ukraine, noted that there is a catastrophic shortage of engineers to implement the energy transition, and not only in Ukraine. According to him, America, the EU and the United Kingdom plan to invest huge costs in the energy transition, but say that to implement such ambitious programs, today the world needs to have 2.5 million engineers, 500,000 of them need to be trained as soon as possible.

Iryna Protopopova, Head of DTEK Network's Regulatory Department, spoke about an important project in the Dnipropetrovsk region. As part of the investment program, the first training area in Ukraine (indoor and outdoor) will be created, where relevant specialists will learn to work under voltage. This will allow to learn how to perform scheduled work in networks without disconnecting customers and household users from electricity.

Vitaliy Nikolaenko, CEO of Voltage Group, confirmed the existence of a human capital problem. According to him, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified engineers, as many professionals go abroad, and those who remain do not always meet the necessary requirements. For this reason, a few years ago the company made an important decision - to move its office to the territory of the Technical University for more fruitful cooperation with teachers and students, and independently grows young human capital and develops its expertise.

Vitaliy Nikolayenko also believes that it is important to talk more about strategic things, as Ukraine is on the 64th place in the rating of investment attractiveness of Doing business-2020, and according to this rating - connection to the grid is on the 128th place, which demonstrates the conditions in which the consumer is nowadays (see the article here). That is, this indicator significantly reduces our investment attractiveness and inhibits economic development. It is important to realize that the quality of interaction of all elements of the energy system depends on the state of the economy as a whole, the financial and technical condition of each element, the DSO. With attracted investments and a successful economy, we will have much more generated, transmitted, and distributed kWh and solvent consumers, respectively, we will have much better opportunities to implement investment programs for our networks.

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