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Ukrainian Energy System Joins Unified European Electricity System ENTSO-E

On 16 March 2022, Ukraine joined the unified continental European electricity system ENTSO-E and completed an emergency synchronisation of its power grids with the ENTSO-E in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Synchronisation process

Until recently only a small part of the Ukrainian Power System (also referred to as "Burshtyn Island") was synchronised with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E), while the rest of the network was synchronised with the power systems of Russia and Belarus.

Preparation for the synchronisation of the entire Ukrainian Power System with ENTSO-E started in 2017 after the Ukrainian power transmission system operator Ukrenergo signed the agreement on the interconnection of the power system of Ukraine to the Continental Europe power system of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E).

As part of the ongoing synchronisation process, it was intended that from 24 February 2022 to 27 February 2022 the Ukrainian Power System would function in an isolated mode in order to prepare it for ENTSO-E synchronisation. Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, however, the Ukrainian Power System remained in an isolated mode.

On 27 February 2022, in response to the invasion, Ukrenergo sent a request to the Continental European TSOs for urgent synchronisation of the Ukrainian power system with ENTSO-E. As a result, on 16 March 2022, Ukraine joined the unified continental European electricity system ENTSO-E and completed a trial synchronisation of the Ukrainian Power System with the ENTSO-E. This switch means that Russia would no longer control technical aspects of Ukraine's network, such as grid frequency.

This is a milestone towards permanent synchronisation in the future. In addition, on 26 April 2022 Ukrainian TSO (Ukrenergo) has joined ENTSO-E as an observer member, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the important relationship between Ukrenergo and all the European electricity TSO members of ENTSO-E.

"Synchronisation means European assistance in case of emergency needs, thus increasing the stability of the Ukrainian and Moldovan power systems," said Artur Lorkowski, director of the Energy Community Secretariat. "It means safer operation of nuclear power plants in Ukraine. After the Russian military aggression stops, synchronisation will translate into more energy security and more benefits for consumers on both sides."

Opportunities of ENTSO-E interconnections

Currently, Ukraine has the following interconnections with the ENTSO-E countries:

  • Hungary – 650 MW / 450 MW (export/import capacity)
  • Slovakia – 600 MW / 600 MW (export/import capacity)
  • Romania – 400 MW / 400 MW (export/import capacity)
  • Poland – 210 MW / 0 MW (export/import capacity)

These interconnections allow for the flow of the electricity between the Ukrainian Power System and ENTSO-E, the import and export of electricity to or from Ukraine, and emergency help for the Ukrainian Power System.

Furthermore, it is expected that later Ukrainian and European electricity markets will be synchronized, which may lead to Ukraine becoming an exporter of electricity to the EU, and enhanced competition in the Ukrainian and EU markets.

Source: ENTSO-E press release of 16 March 2022.

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