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Winter Has Arrived
Ukraine Hopes for Warm Weather

It’s been no secret that Ukraine is in for a rough winter this year: for months, we’ve known that the country’s energy supply was flirting with an inability to meet demand. Now, as winter has finally arrived, Kiev’s energy strategy seems to rely on the hope that temperatures don’t drop too low. Reuters reports:

The energy ministry temporarily cut off power supplies to Crimea after the peninsula, annexed by Russia, failed to curb consumption as required by all regions due to the power shortage.

Supplies were later resumed, but Energy Minister Voldymyr Demchyshyn warned that all regions, including rebel-held territories, would be cut off entirely if they did not ration power according to the official guidelines. […]

“At the moment the warm weather is saving us,” [Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk] said in a government meeting. “If temperatures go down, this means coal consumption will rise and the rolling blackouts will increase significantly.”

Ukraine may have signed a stop-gap gas deal with Gazprom, but its energy security is still very suspect. Separatist fighting in the east has disrupted coal production, adding to Kiev’s long list of pressing problems. Coal reserves are currently just a third of their typical size going into winter, and Russia is holding up train cars bound for Ukraine in an attempt to ratchet up the pressure.

This Christmas, global warming could do some good for a change.

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  • Alex K.

    Now, as winter has finally arrived, Kiev’s energy strategy seems to rely on the hope that temperatures don’t drop too low.

    Gazprom is trying to block Kiev’s attempts to buy greater quantities of gas from Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland. Gazprom has hinted that if these countries sell too much gas to Ukraine, it will limit gas supplies to them to the bare minimum necessary to get through the winter, leaving no extra for reexport. This is predatory monopolistic behavior and the EU needs to invest in the European pipeline network to make imported LNG as well as Norwegian and Libyan pipeline gas available to Ukraine. Poland’s LNG import terminal in Świnoujście will hopefully start receiving tankers in 2015 and alleviate the region’s dependence on Gazprom.

  • Rick Johnson

    But there hasn’t been any global warming for nearly two decades. If it stays warm in the Ukraine this winter it will be from entirely natural causes.

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