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.