Ukraine Loses Wind Turbines but Gains Opportunity
Energy Harvest Journal, by Dr. Peter Harrop
Published on March 17, 2017
Ukraine badly needs low-cost, zero-emission renewable energy to replace risky, dirty and expensive options and expand the economy efficiently. A study by the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) has shown that it is feasible for Ukraine to make more than half of its renewable electricity — over 20% of all power — from wind, like the UK, Germany and Denmark. With no ocean and with solar panels covered in snow at minus 20ºC in the dark of winter, the alternatives are not so exciting.
Initial study showed best potential in the extreme East of the country and in Crimea and many wind turbines were installed there. Unfortunately, those are exactly the regions now occupied or disrupted by Russia.
The Ukrainian Wind Energy Association in Kiev has not responded to IDTechEx enquiries these last two weeks as we have travelled between Lviv and Kiev and elsewhere in the North and West of the country only seeing a single wind turbine at Kiev International Airport.
Ukraine would be ideal for the next thing coming along, the subject of the new IDTechEx report Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) 2017-2027 . These tethered aircraft and kites just coming on the market generate 10 kW to 1 MW with 90% less material cost and tap the more consistent, stronger winds above the height of ground turbines of today — notably at 200-1000 meters. However, the bigger, on-grid ones in particular need a lot of fenced off ground space and no-fly zones above for safety. They are tricky to fit between the multiple flight paths of small countries like England. Contrast Ukraine with vast unused ground area and sky.
Ukraine’s universities and businesses should be energetically developing AWE but IDTechEx is still trying to find something appropriate going on there apart from Yunasko of Kiev being leader in high energy density hybrid supercapacitors that may be used.
Coming very soon as four foreign companies commercialise AWE over the coming four years, importing some AWE would not break the bank either. The portable low-power off-grid versions being developed in the USA for 10-150 kW will be useful in Ukrainian farms and military forces on the move and the 1 MW on-grid ones could go in most places across Ukraine — though not flying above the conventional turbine at Kiev International Airport!