‘Ukraine’s Preference for Coal Halts Energy Sector Reform, Fight Against Climate Crisis’

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The Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal and former manager of the largest Ukrainian energy production and coal holding company DTEK has announced that “coal will become the main fuel for the production of electricity at thermal power plants.”

“The order provides for the priority use of domestic thermal coal for the production of electricity at thermal power plants,” – said Acting Minister of Energy of Ukraine Olga Boguslavets.

The latest development is seen to oppose the country’s declaration of interest to develop a strategy for the transition to renewable energy in December 2019 when it also introduced taxes on fossil fuels and reform. The change of leadership of the government and ministries is believed to be responsible for the swift u-turn on energy policy. 

 Meanwhile the development of the renewable energy sector being stalled is championed by the Cabinet of Ministers and foreign Ukrainian who are rapidly stopping their investment in the renewable energy sector.

Announcing the recent development, the Energy Transition coalition, which includes, 350.org EECCA, said the reform of the energy sector and the fight against the crisis have been put on hold in Ukraine.

The Managing Director of 350.org in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, Svitlana Romanko, said: “Under the guise of stabilizing the energy system, the Cabinet of Ministers has made a decision that will exacerbate the climate, energy and social crisis in Ukraine. Such support for fossil fuel energy monopolies is far from fair.

“The cost of coal is not only the cost of extraction, delivery and incineration, it is also the cost of the health and lives of millions of people who live near coal-fired and breathe air with carcinogens. These costs are not included in the price of electricity, as well as losses from risks. Using “cheap” coal as opposed to renewables, Ukraine will soon pay much more for being behind the EU’s Green Deal and a just recovery plan”  

The full analysis of a Program of activities of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine by 350 EECCA from a perspective of crisis, just recovery and green economy measures has been published here. The Ukrainian Energy Transition coalition has also published this statement on the outdated and disastrous energy policy of Ukraine.

 Continuing, Romanko said: “We are concerned that the Ukrainian government could use financial assistance to stimulate unpromising dying fossil fuel industries and support oligarchic vested interests.

“Instead of overcoming the COVID-19 and crisis by investing in health care, direct financial assistance to the citizens and small and medium enterprises increasing the resilience of settlements, communities and agriculture of Ukraine to climate change, ensuring a transition and the implementation of the Green Deal.”

Also, the 350.org’s Regional Campaigner in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia,  Yulia Melnyk (Pashkovska) opined that “Under the guise of national interests and support of Ukrainian producers and miners, the government is taking away our chances for a secure and reformed future for all Ukrainians.

“The energy sector is in deep crisis – most power units should be decommissioned in the next 5-10 years. If you constantly postpone changes and say not this time and there is no resources, then changes will never happen.

“The international climate organisation 350.org opposes subsidies for the extraction of fossil fuels, because the burning of coal, oil and gas is the cause of the climate crisis on the planet. We call on the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to abandon the decision to invest in coal and take the green course as a strategy for development!”

Peace Obi

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