KYIV, Jan 15 – Ukraine’s power grid will be tested for strength within days as the country is facing a spell of freezing air temperatures hitting most regions, while coal stocks have plunged to critical levels.
Ukrenergo, the state-run power grid, on Friday said it will seek to restart several additional power fossil fuel-burning and hydropower units to increase power generation.
The average daily air temperature is to drop to minus 17 degrees Celsius between January 16 and January 20, which will increase power consumption dramatically, Ukrenergo said.
The country’s power consumption is expected to increase by 3 gigawatts to reach 25 gigawatts during peak hours reflecting the affect of the frigid air temperatures, Ukrenergo said.
“In this regard, Ukrenergo has set a number of measures to balance the power system and cover the additional load during the morning and evening maximum consumption hours,” the company said.
“The key directions are increasing the generation of electricity at hydroelectric and pumped storage power plants, as well as increasing the load level of thermal power plants (TPPs),” Ukrenergo said.
However, Ukraine’s coal stocks have plunged to 688,000 metric tons, which is less than critical level of 900,000 mt, with the government indicating that some coal powered units will be upgraded to use natural gas or fuel oil.
Ukrenergo welcomed the restart of 1,000 MW unit-5 of the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant after an upgrade extending its lifespan by 10 years through 2030.
“A positive factor for balancing the power system was the commissioning of the unit-5 of Zaporizhia NPP on January 15,” UKrenergo said.
Also, Zaporizhia NPP, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, agreed to postpone for several days through January 22 the shutdown of unit-1 for scheduled maintenance to proeduce additional power generation during the spell of the freezing weather.
“Thus, during the next eight days, Zaporizhia NPP will be able to operate with all six units,” Ukrenergo said.
The measures may help Ukrenergo avoid ‘rolling blackouts,’ sweeping cut-offs of power supply to entre regions if demand for power exceeds supply.
"We inform that such measures are not yet planned," Ukrenergo said. (tl/ez)