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Heating season 2014: is Kyiv’s energy system ready? 

Heating season 2014: is Kyiv’s energy system ready? 
Article by: Yevhen Solonyna
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Will Kyiv become an example of a stable heating season this year? Kyivenergo, heating and electricity network employees claim they have don’t everything in their power, and the only obstacle could be low gas limits for the city. As such, two-month reserves of mazut (a type of heavy oil) to replace gas are being created in the capital. Individual blocks in the capital are less dependent on gas, as they are heated on account of the garbage incineration plant. However, the transition of part of Kyiv’s electric supplies to alternative types of fuel (wood byproducts) will last over a year, both energy workers and independent experts warn. Therefore, Kyivans are being asked to insulate their homes.

Kyiv is preparing for the heating season, which will not be easy due to the gas deficit, which implies a decrease in heat production and electricity generation at the capital’s thermal power plants, Kyivenergo states. The company reports that the city’s electricity and heat systems are prepared, save for internal ones inside the buildings, which public utility services are responsible for, and which are the most worn-out, explains director of the structuring separate department, Kyiv Electric Networks, Oleksandr Topal.

The heating season will begin after stable cold arrives. However, while before this happened after the daily average temperature was lower than 8 degrees Celsius for three days, this year they will try to launch heating as late as possible in order to save gas. This will only be possible after a separate government decision, explained head of the capital’s heating networks Yevhen Glushak to the journalists.

“The time has come to be patriots. Note that after the first cold, the weather gets warmer for about two weeks. Natural processes are the same every year. We are turning on the heating following emergency procedure, we rip the networks apart, we renovate it, then warm weather comes, and the citizens accuse Kyivenergo of heating the atmosphere,” the energy expert emphasizes.

Is mazut bad for the environment? 

Mazut, or heavy oil, is a reserve type of fuel for Kyiv thermal power plants and boilers, explains Yehven Glushak. In case of an emergency gas switch-off, the capital has enough fuel to last 10 cold days. Currently, according to Mr. Glushak, Kyivenergo is preparing to increase mazut supplies by 700 thousand tons, for it to last two months in case gas is absent for some reason.

Energy workers have asked the Cabinet of Ministers to finance the creation of such reserves. However, in this case the production of a gigacalorie will be approximately three times more expensive than using gas, if we are to take the prices on reversed gas from the European Union, Director of Finance at Kyivenergo Tetyana Hryaznova calculates. She adds that the usage of mazut is detrimental to the environment and heat-generating forces, and in the summer, after having processed mazut for many months, the equipment necessitates thorough renovation.

On his part, Yevhen Glushak also stated that currently a plan is in development to transfer some of thermal blocks and boilers in Kyiv to alternative types of fuel; the main resource for the new forces will be firewood and pellets. According to him, Kyivenergo, with the help of Lithuanian experts, plans to build two boilers and a cogeneration station to produce heat and electricity using biomass. However, these forces will be launched in no less than two years’ time, Yevhen Glushak predicts.

“It is impossible to do in a year. However, we are making calculations, executing the boiler projects, and preparing a cogeneration station project which uses biofuel, which we will build on Rybalsky island together with Lithuanian experts,” he says.

Poznyaky is already using alternative fuel

However, one of Kyiv’s micro-districts will feel the advantage of using alternative electricity. According to Yevhen Hlushak, the water-heating equipment was set up at the garbage incineration plant, Energy, and the micro-district of Poznyaky will consume the water heated by it. Prospectively, Kyivenergo predicts that they will be able to increase the production of alternative heat at the plant.

Heorhy Heletukha, head of the Ukrainian Bioenergy Association, as opposed to Kyivenergo, thinks that the time needed to launch energy production using biomass can be decreased, and raw materials can be made cheaper by using forest and agricultural resources from Kyiv oblast itself.

“Kyiv is a megapolis, and therefore it is solvent to construct thermal power plants with 20 megawatts of electricity and 60 megawatts of heat. The turbine for such a station takes half a year to produce, the boiler takes as much, but they can be ordered simultaneously,” Mr. Heletukha says. “Together with the time necessary for construction and connection, we can make it in 1,5 years. A boiler that uses pellets or lint is much quicker to build, and we can make it in half a year.”

Kyivenergo: we are disconnecting companies which have not made an advance payment

Kyiv energy and heat network representatives emphasize that the heating season this year will be difficult, however, the energy system is prepared for it. “Temperature in homes will fluctuate, but it will not surpass comfort limits, if the residents ensure hermetic doors and windows,” noted Yevhen Hlushak.

On his part, director of Kyiv Electricity Networks Oleksandr Topal assured that on the eve of winter the company reconstructed and reinforced transformation substations with 10 and 0,4 kiloVolts, and that there would most likely be no selective disconnecting due to lack of forces in Kyiv this winter. Meanwhile disconnecting has begun. As such, on September 25, Internet provider Tysa was disconnected from electricity and telephone networks, which resulted in all residents of Obolon embankment having no TV or Internet connection, locals report.

On the evening of September 29, electricity networks temporarily suspended electricity supplies to business center Khreshchatyk-Plaza, where several Ukrainian and foreign companies rent their offices, in particular, the Kyiv office of Radio Liberty. The supplier motivated the disconnection with the alleged lack of advance payments for electricity which were supposed to have been made before September 25.

However, the warning against the violation was issued and sent to the business center on September 23, and the electricity was switched off one day before it is permitted by law in case of lack of payment, head of the legal department of the company which owns the building, Olha Kadrova, told Radio Liberty. According to her, the companies who rent offices in the building were blocked because of the lack of electricity, and her company intends to appeal the disconnection that had occurred. On his part, Oleksandr Topal noted that all commercial organization in Kyiv have to make advance payments, and that those who don’t will be disconnected regardless of the winter period. On her part, Kyivenergo Director for Finance Tetyana Hryaznova assured that these switch offs would not touch on residential buildings.

Both officials of energy generating companies and energy experts emphasize that this year heat and electricity in homes depend not only on the energy industry, but the residents themselves. Experts are asking them to insulate their homes, make windows and doors hermetic, initiate the check-up of electricity networks in the buildings and not switch on electric heaters during peak hours.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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