Ukraine continues to look to strengthen its energy independence – in the face of a continuing conflict with Russian separatists in the east, and Russian cuts to gas supplies to the ex-Soviet country.
The country’s Energy and Coal Industry Ministry has signed a joint agreement with the Japan Coal Energy Center (JCOAL), which will see the two groups review Ukraine’s coal-fired power plants in a move to help strengthen the country’s energy independence. According to Interfax Energy, the agreement includes a plan for Japanese engineers to help Ukraine increase its thermal power generation.
The agreement was signed during talks in Kiev, where Japan and Ukraine signed a memorandum for co-operation in a project to raise efficiency at Ukraine’s coal-fired power plants. The country’s plants are generally outdated, with 75% over 40 years old. Recommendations will be given by March 2015.
Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, who met Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan, said Japan will support Ukraine in raising the coal plants’ efficiency. “Coal-fired plants account for around 40% of the overall volume of electricity output, although their productivity is low because of their outdated equipment. If this is replaced with highly effective Japanese equipment, [Ukraine could] cut gas imports by around 10%,” he said.
“The Ukrainian government is doing everything possible to provide people with energy,” Prodan said. “In these difficult conditions we are thinking about future developments and we associate this with high-tech equipment, the introduction of market mechanisms and Ukraine’s integration into the EU common market.”
Prodan said the need to gain energy independence had been made strikingly clear by recent political developments, which showed problems with Ukraine’s high level of dependence on gas. “At present, Ukraine is in a gas blockade by Russia. The third gas war has actually started. The energy infrastructure in the east of the country has been destroyed by terrorist activities,” The Ukraine minister said.
Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson
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