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Will Russian strikes cut electricity supplies to Ukraine?

by SuperiorInvest

Power outages have become more frequent in Ukraine in recent weeks as Russian missile and drone strikes have targeted the country’s energy infrastructure. The EU cited these attacks on civilian targets when it called Russia a state sponsor of terrorism today. But they will be effective – can Russia succeed in pushing Ukraine into a new dark age?

“Currently, more than 10 million Ukrainians are without electricity,” said Ukrainian President Zelensky he said Thursday.

Attacks are coming just like Ukraine gets the first snow and cold weather is coming. Russian strategy to destroy the energy source and freeze the Ukrainian population until they are gone agree to the meeting.

In this war, however, Ukraine has an unexpected ally: the Soviet Union. Ukrainian electrical distribution was established during the times of the USSR and the ever-present threat of nuclear conflict. The power grid was designed to be as resilient as possible, with a distribution network that could reroute electricity from one part of the country to another in the event of a loss of generation capacity.

In the United States, the loss of power in one location can lead to cascading outages, as seen in the 2003 Northeast blackout, when 50 million people lost power for up to two days due to downed trees wipe against high voltage power lines. In Ukraine, as in the rest of the former Soviet Union, even shutting down an entire power plant does not necessarily affect electricity supplies.

“In Soviet times, an energy system scheme was built, where everything is set for similar events that are happening today,” said Maksim Timchenko, the company’s general director CHILDRENthe largest private Ukrainian electricity generator, he said Economica Pravda in October.

Timchenko says the country’s normal total generating capacity is around 52 gigawatts. Of this total, about 10 GW were lost – primarily the Russian-captured 6 GW nuclear power plant in Zaporozhye, but also the nearby thermal power plant also in Zaporozhye, and the Russian-captured power plants in Uglegorsk and Lugansk.

Only one power plant has been knocked out of service by direct Russian attacks, reportedly the 1.2 GW facility at Ladyzynská. decommissioned Shahed-136 drones on October 11 and still unfixed.

However, most of Russia’s efforts are aimed at attacking the electricity distribution system.

“It hits switchboards, transformers, switches, so a station that can generate electricity cannot be connected to a unified energy system. This means that the key targets are Ukrenergo transformer high-voltage substations and power distribution equipment in thermal power plants,” says Timchenko.

These attacks by cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and kamikaze droneshave been reinforced in recent weeks.

“Three high-voltage substations were shelled; 40 substations of different voltage levels remained without power; two 750-kilowatt and five 330-kilowatt outdoor lines were disconnected,” Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko said. reported on Facebook after one of the most intense attacks in September.

This type of damage is much easier to repair than a destroyed power plant. Within two days of last Thursday’s attacks, Ukraine’s national energy company Ukrenerho said it had restored electricity supply to 70% of its customers.

Ukrainians are adapting, stocking up candles and camping stovesbut also on modern solutions such as LED lighting systems, power banks, and solar lighting. The mobile network already has an emergency backup battery and this is being expanded.

Ukrainian authorities are also setting up heating points and places to charge phones and other devices. There is even work on it local WiFi hotspots with Starlink satellite connection and Powerwall batteries to ensure that people can stay online and continue to communicate in the event of a mains power outage.

Distribution systems can be repaired, and even if Russia succeeds in destroying more power plants, it will not be enough to black out Ukraine. Timchenko notes this high voltage connections with neighboring countries, originally set up to allow Ukraine to export electricity, could easily bring EU electricity into the country. It might be expensive, but imported electricity could keep the lights on.

“I believe we can’t have some kind of Armageddon, a situation where everything is broken and we end up with a complete blackout,” says Timchenko. “Based on how we’ve performed and how the system has performed in terms of sustainability, I believe we can meet these challenges.”

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