Ukraine expands EU energy exports in fresh display of wartime resilience

Since the beginning of March, Ukraine has been powering thousands of homes in neighboring European countries, exporting large amounts of clean energy from solar and hydro plants.

Data from Ukraine’s electricity grid operator, Ukrenergo, indicates that the country is making full use of its interconnection capacity to sell electricity to Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Poland, and Slovakia, with over 13 gigawatt hours (GWh) flowing across the border during daylight hours. Outflows are driven by ample renewable production in Ukraine at this time of year, which makes it commercially attractive to sell to EU markets during the day, when the country has surplus solar production. At night, flows tend to reverse, allowing Ukraine to import from Europe when internal production from other sources may be insufficient.

The fact that in spring 2024 Ukraine is not only able to produce electricity but also export to the EU at full throttle is testament to the country’s extraordinary wartime resilience. Over the past two years, Russia has attempted to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as part of Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion. These efforts have included a six-month campaign of intensified air strikes against power stations and transmission lines during the first winter of the war that caused widespread blackouts and plunged the country into darkness amid temperatures well below freezing. The World Bank estimates the cost of wartime damage to Ukraine’s energy sector at $12 billion, with attacks ongoing.

Ukraine’s renewable capacity has also been badly hit. Invading Russian forces have bombed or occupied approximately 90% of Ukraine’s wind capacity along with half of its solar plants, and are also accused of destroying the Nova Khakovka hydro plant, one of the largest in the country.