Ukraine expects to start supplying electricity to the European Union network via its planned 'energy bridge' as early as 2019, and to complete the project by 2025, the head of the country's nuclear power plant operator said this week. The energy bridge will link unit 2 of Ukraine's Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant to Burshtyn Energy Island and connect with powerlines to Rzeszów in Poland and Albertirsa in Hungary.
Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers adopted a decree on the Ukraine-EU energy bridge in June 2015. This followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the project in March between Energoatom, Ukrenergo and Polenergia. The project aims to make the export of electricity possible by disconnecting Khmelnitsky 2 from the Ukrainian national grid, and to attract funding required to complete units 3 and 4 at the plant.
Energoatom president Yury Nedashkovsky told delegates at the Ukrainian Energy Forum, held in Kiev between 28 February and 3 March, the project would be the "first step on the way to fully integrated strategic synchronisation of the Ukrainian and European energy systems".
"We expect, as the result of having a long-term export contract, to receive a financial instrument for solving the issue of infrastructure development in Ukraine, increasing the efficiency and capacity of our power units, as well as completing two power units at Khmelnitsky that are currently in a closed state with a high degree of construction readiness," he said. Units 3 and 4 are 73% and 28% complete, respectively, he added.
The project will add 1000 MWe of nuclear power capacity to the existing export potential of Burshtyn Island, which is currently supplied exclusively by 550 Mwe of thermal generation capacity.
Energoatom said on 3 March that the total 1550 MWe will be the "cornerstone" on which the possibility of the Ukrainian power system operating in synchronicity with the system managed by ENTSO-E will be be based. ENTSO-E - the European Network of Transmission System Operators - represents 42 electricity transmission system operators from 35 countries across Europe. The total capacity available will eventually be as high as 2550 MWe, Energoatom added.
Energoatom expects upgrading Khmelnitsky 2 and its connection to Burshtyn Island, and other work to support its ultimate connection to the ENTSO-E power system to cost about €47 million ($50 million).
Back-up power sources will be provided, Nedashkovsky said, to prevent electricity 'blackouts'. Power demand in Ukraine is decreasing, Energoatom said, making the prospect of exporting electricity even more attractive. The company expects to produce 82 GWh of nuclear power this year, down from 88 GWh in 2015.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News