Green energy in Ukraine - even despite the record amount of investment and prospects in this area in the field of domestic energy - is considered the main culprit of all the troubles of our energy sector. Like, because of it the power is compelled to disconnect blocks of the Ukrainian nuclear power plants.
However, the experience of foreign countries, such as the United States, shows that alternative energy not only does not prevent states from providing electricity to their fellow citizens, but also significantly helps maintain balance, save fossil energy sources and significantly reduce environmental pollution.
Nobody needs billions
Following the results of the past 2019, Ukraine entered the top 10 ranking of investments in green energy in the annual report Climatescope 2019, prepared by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Last year we made a stunning leap, rising from 63rd place to eighth!
According to the State Agency for Energy Efficiency, our state has doubled the total capacity of "green" energy in the first nine months of last year. In total, last year we installed 4.5 GW of new capacity, which increased the total capacity by about three times, to 6.8 GW. In total, these stations can generate more than 8.4 billion kWh of electricity, or 5.5% of the total. All this happened thanks to € 3.7 billion in investments. The share of green generation in electricity production in the third quarter of 2019 reached 3.7%.
However, the state, it must be understood, this was too much, and alternative energy in our state decided to cut off the wings a bit. According to the head of Ukrenergo Vsevolod Kovalchuk, in 2020 the company will limit up to 15% of green generation. Rinat Akhmetov's DTEK wind farms, in particular Botievskaya, Primorskaya-1 and Orlovskaya wind farms, were also restricted.
And this despite the ambitious plans of most developed countries by 2050 to increase the share of renewable energy from the current 10% to 20-40%. In about 50 countries, their share in electricity production already exceeds 50%, in some it is approaching this level. In 2019, two thirds of the generated generating capacity in the world was "green". Last year, Germany recorded a share of 46% of RES in its overall balance.
Ukraine declares similar plans: by 2050 the share of renewable sources in the total structure of domestic electricity production should reach 70%! At the same time, the most unecological and extremely expensive coal generation will be abandoned altogether.
However, uncertainty for investors produced by the Ukrainian government recently may nullify all these plans. Like, there is too much renewable energy in the overall electricity balance. And it is said to be too expensive and hinders the development of the energy sector.
The price of the "alternative" is constantly declining
Although, for example, in the United States in 2014 an important milestone in energy was reached: the price of solar and wind energy was equal to the price of kilowatts produced in the traditional way, ie by burning coal or gas. Moreover, according to the New York Times, the process of reducing the cost of solar and wind energy in their country began in 2009 and is significantly accelerating every year. Such progress in the use of green energy in the United States, according to experts, was achieved thanks to generous government subsidies, which, however, then significantly reduced. But at the same time, analysts say, even without state support, alternative sources will be able to compete with traditional ones.
The regions of the United States where "solar" and "wind" kilowatts were cheaper than "gas" are mainly the Great Plains and the southwestern United States, where there are plenty of sunny days and wind. Five years ago, a US private company signed a 20-year contract to supply electricity from a solar power plant at a price lower than 5 cents per kilowatt-hour than its competitors, which received energy from traditional sources.
"It's great, given where we were just five years ago, to see how the cost of these technologies has dropped," media quoted Jonathan Svit, managing director of Lazard, which has been monitoring the electricity economy since 2008. According to him, in assessing the cost of a particular type of energy should take into account the hidden costs. For example, solar and wind stations provide electricity intermittently - when the wind blows and the sun shines. This requires the possibility of substituting supplies from traditional suppliers. In turn, thermal power plants have emissions that are subject to restrictions, which imposes additional costs on the owners of this type of business. “Previously, renewables had two problems: they were expensive and could not be included on demand. Now they are not that expensive, ”said Khalil Shalabi, vice president of Austin Energy.
Legislation plus investment
One striking example of how alternative energy sources successfully take their place in the market without interfering with other types of generation is the example of the US state of Texas. At one time, oil was extracted from local wells, and even now the state produces the most oil in the United States. But in addition to "black gold", American winds are also affected by strong winds. In just seven years, the amount of energy generated by wind turbines has more than doubled. In 2017, the first 15,000 megawatts were generated here. During rush hour, this is enough to power 3 million homes, and at other times of the day - capacity exceeds the need by almost three times.
To turn air flows into a source of energy boom, it was necessary to systematically implement the idea of wind power. At the state level, a number of necessary laws have been passed and the necessary investments have been attracted. This is a comprehensive renewable energy standard, according to which the state must constantly increase the use of wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy. By the way, similar standards apply in the other 29 states.
Texas lawmakers then approved zones of competition in the field of renewable energy, which significantly stimulated competition between areas with the greatest potential for wind energy production. In the end, $ 7 billion was invested in power lines. The state also has a territorial power grid, the Texas Council for Uninterruptible Power Supply, a non-profit corporation that covers most communities. Local corporations invest in the corporation's development, and it reports on its work to the state utility commission and the Texas Legislature.
In general, wind power in Texas consists of numerous wind farms with a total installed nominal capacity of 22,637 MW from more than 40 different projects. According to the Texas Council for Uninterruptible Power Supply, wind power accounts for about 15.7 percent of Texas's electricity, and wind generated another 17.4 percent of its electricity.
Is the sun better than a nuclear power plant?
The popularity of green energy production in Texas is evidenced at least by the fact that many farmers are very happy to lease their land to wind farm owners. In total, the industry has created more than 24 thousand new jobs for the local population. In addition, the state is considered a leader in the commercialization of renewable energy projects in the United States. The profit orientation of businessmen in this country has led to a situation where nuclear energy in the United States has become more expensive than solar: in this country it is cheaper to build and run a solar farm than to maintain the operation of nuclear power plants.
So today the United States is on the verge of choosing a strategic direction of energy development. And the main reason for this is cheaper equipment for the use of renewable energy sources. Experts and even former supporters are increasingly saying that maintaining traditional power plants, especially nuclear, is more unprofitable. Analysts of the financial company Lazard have the same opinion. And Bloomberg notes: a third of US nuclear power plants will not be profitable until 2021 and, it is possible, will go bankrupt.
In a free market, the emergence of new power plants can not afford any of the private companies, nuclear power plants survive only as a state project. Analysts cite many examples of failed nuclear projects: in the United States, Britain, and even France, where three-quarters of the energy is provided by the atom, projects of such stations have been frozen, shut down, or completed in recent decades. Against this background, solar panels and windmills seem a much simpler and more calculated solution.
However, the world cannot abandon nuclear or thermal power plants at all. At least until this problem - long-term storage of electricity - will be solved technically. But the rapid cheapening of the "green" kilowatt and the spread of renewable energy in the world is forcing inventors to work faster.