Would Russia Wage An Energy War Again? But Ukraine Says It’s Better Prepared Now
Moscow’s invasion took Oleksandr Danyliuk, an engineer with Ukraine’s largest private electricity company, DTEK, by surprise.
“I went to bed. The next morning, [on February 25 2022], I peered outside my window. It was 6:30 am. There were four Russian armoured vehicles opposite my house.”
Over the next four weeks, an intense battle raged in his home city of Hostomel, a short drive from Kyiv. The fighting brought down numerous electricity cables, leaving civilians cold.
Ukraine War Triggering Blackouts, Electricity Rationing
After the Russians left, he and his team began repairing the damage. Russian soldiers had left booby traps. In 45 days, power was restored.
But the peace was shortlived as the Kremlin launched a wave of missile and drone attacks against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure beginning in October 2022.
This led to blackouts, electricity rationing and a hunt for generators. DTEK gradually restored energy capacity over spring and summer.
Russia Could Wage An Energy War Again
It seems likely, however, that Moscow will launch a second missile campaign this winter, designed to cripple Ukraine’s energy grid again.
But Danyliuk is optimistic this time round. “In 2022 we had to improvise. Now we are better prepared,” the power distribution expert with 25 years’ experience noted.
According to its CEO, Maxim Timchenko, DTEK has spent $110 million preparing for another possible Russian attack. It has revamped power units and stockpiled 1 million tonnes of coal.
Greater Focus On Windfarms As They’re More Resilient
Timchenko said his firm was looking for assistance from international partners. In May, it opened the first windfarm to be built in a warzone.
The Tyligulska plant produces enough electricity to power 200,000 households. Over the past year, Ukraine has built more onshore wind turbines than England.
“Windfarms are more resilient than thermal power plants,” said Timchenko, revealing a need for €421.67 million investment to install an additional 64 turbines.