During this year’s edition of the most important event of the wind energy sector, WindEurope Bilbao 2022, we could not miss a discussion on the war in Ukraine and its impact on the energy sector. The European wind industry stands in solidarity with Ukraine, especially the energy sector. Dynamically changing geopolitical situation clearly shows that rapidly developed RES can increase energy security of Europe, including Ukraine. The industry associations UWEA and PWEA have launched the joint Work4Wind project.
On 5 April 2022, the largest conference and exhibition of the European wind industry took place in Bilbao, Spain. It was attended by more than 8,000 people and several hundred companies from across the wind industry value chain. Bilbao hosted the debate “Wind Power – the Path to Ukraine’s Energy Independence and Peace” with the participation of wind industry representatives from Ukraine and Poland. Andriy Konechenkov, Chairman of the Board of the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association (UWEA), emphasized during the debate that Ukraine has made significant development progress in recent years, but the situation in the country was changed by the war in Ukraine caused by Russia.
“Ukraine has excellent wind energy sources crucial for the development of large wind power projects. Over 7,000 km2 of territory can be used for wind energy development”, Konechenkov said.
During the special workshop, he said that 88 percent of the 1,673 MW of wind capacity is concentrated in the four northern Ukrainian regions of Zaporizhzhya, Kherson, Nikolayev, and Odessa, where the Russian military has been particularly aggressive in destroying renewable energy facilities.
Galina Schmidt, UWEA Board Member, presented the situation of the wind sector at the end of 2021. The total installed capacity of all energy sources in Ukraine was 56.1 GW. Renewable sources, including wind power, provided 8.1 percent of electricity last year. The total installed capacity in RES was 9.6 GW, including 1.67 GW in wind energy (34 wind power plants). It is estimated that 2,000 people work in the sector in total. The largest number of wind turbines was supplied by Danish Vestas (40.4 percent, 675.3 MW) and Nordex (19.2 percent, 321.9 MW). Ukraine’s goal is to reach the target of 25 percent share of RES in the country’s energy mix by 2035.
Kateryna Knysh, Head of Analytics at UWEA, presented the prospects for rebuilding the wind sector after the war. UWEA expects to see approx. 1 GW of new windmill capacity in 2022 in Ukraine. The remaining 4 GW are in the early stages of development (permitting).
Offshore wind energy is the next step in the development of this sector. According to the World Bank, Renewable Energy Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine has significant technical potential for offshore wind development in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.
Work4Wind – Ukrainian and Polish wind industry join forces
UWEA and PWEA have launched the joint Work4Wind project. It is a platform that aims to connect Ukrainian wind workers with energy companies. In this way, Ukrainians fleeing the war-torn country have a tool to seek work in the wind energy sector. Piotr Czopek, PWEA Director, encouraged to join the initiative.
“Since 24 February 2022, more than 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine to Poland in search of safety and aid. We decided to help them find jobs and thus show them that they are needed here and that they can start a new life here. That is why together with our colleagues from Ukraine we are creating the“Work4Wind” project, whose main goal is to connect people from Ukraine with wind companies that need new workers, new employees”, said Czopek.