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Associations call for a renewable reconstruction of Ukraine

On the day of the International Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC 2022) in Lugano, the European and Ukrainian Solar and Wind Associations published a joint statement calling on the leaders from Ukraine and the EU to embrace renewables and renewable hydrogen in Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction by setting a target of at least 50 per cent of renewables in electricity production by 2030, through a combination of rooftop and ground-mounted solar, as well as onshore and offshore wind. 

“We see right now how solar supports the Ukrainian grid’s resilience – the flexible nature of solar decreases the vulnerability of the energy supply to attack, with solar keeping the lights on in parts of Ukraine,” said Artem Semenyshyn, CEO of the Solar Energy Association of Ukraine. “With financial and political support from the international community, the plan to rebuild Ukraine should have the principle of resilience and flexibility at its core. A mandatory solar rooftop programme to support re-building homes would enable lowest cost and clean power security for Ukraine’s citizens.”

Indeed, as reminded once again by EU Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, the EU will intensify its commitment to drive the recovery of the hard-hit Ukrainian economy and an essential element of this support will be the reconstruction and modernisation of Ukraine’s energy sector. Solar and wind will play a crucial role. 

“Living through the 8 years of Russian hybrid war has taught me two things,” commented Andriy Konechenkov, Chairman of the Board of the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association. “The first is that Ukraine will never be safe until we have energy independence and the second is that energy security can never come from fossil fuels.”

Also representatives of EU renewables associations agree that it is time to rebuild a more sustainable and greener Ukraine. Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe reminded that Ukraine is now a candidate member of the EU so “it follows that we must support Ukrainian renewable reconstruction in line with the Fit for 55 and REPowerEU packages.”

“Renewables should be at the core of rebuilding a climate-neutral, prosperous and energy-independent Ukraine,” added Malgosia Bartosik, WindEurope Deputy CEO. “Had we all invested earlier and more decisively in renewable energy, we would not find ourselves dependent on unreliable fossil fuel importers today. Wind was already powering Ukrainian homes and companies before the war. The European wind industry stands ready to support the Ukrainian post-war recovery and strengthen its energy security with affordable and scalable technology, while creating new jobs, supporting local communities and revitalising the Ukrainian economy.”

Ukraine had made significant progress in renewable energy in the previous years. In 2019, pre-pandemic and invasion, Ukraine was the third fastest-growing solar market in Europe, with 4 gigawatts (GW) of annual additional capacity. By the end of 2021, the share of renewables in Ukraine’s national electricity production was over 8 per cent.

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