The Ukrainian power grid will be connected to the European grid as soon as possible, European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, said at a news conference late Monday.
Simson and French Minister for Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili confirmed the decision at a news conference following the meeting of the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council held with the participation of energy ministers of the European Union.
Simson said that she has listened to the views of the ministers on the synchronization of Ukraine's power grid with the European grid, works on which had been progressing for several years and now necessitate technical steps to be taken.
She had met earlier Monday with the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E) to discuss the synchronization of the Ukrainian power grid with the European grid. ENTSO-E has currently 39 members from 35 countries.
'Ukraine will not reconnect its grid back to Russia so it is looking to Europe. It will technically be challenging but is something tangible that Europe can do. We will move forward with ENTSO-E to connect Ukraine's electricity system as quickly as possible,' Simson said, adding that this step would also link Moldova to the EU grid.
She confirmed that work will continue to deliver gas to Ukraine through reverse gas flow from west to east.
'The first such deliveries from Hungary took place this winter. The physical reverse flow capacity between Slovakia and Ukraine has been increased and discussions are ongoing to extend this to the next heating seasons,' she said.
Simson also gave an update on Ukraine’s other energy sector requests, including diesel, petrol, jet fuel and generators.
'I am happy to report that concrete deliveries are already scheduled from Poland, Lithuania and Czechia and many other Member States have pledged their help,' she said, adding that the ministers have also agreed to closely monitor the safety of the nuclear power plants in Ukraine.
- April gas storage level forecast lower compared to previous years
Commenting on the EU's risk-assessment work and contingency planning, Simson affirmed that the EU could get through 'this winter safely'.
'At the moment, gas flows from east to west continue, liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries to the EU have increased significantly and the weather forecast is favorable. The use of gas from storage has slowed down and storage capacity is still around 30% filled,' she said.
'We have already seen a steep increase in LNG to Europe in January and February, with LNG imports now around 10 billion cubic meters per month, the highest level ever in the EU.'
Simson also reported that the ministers have confirmed that their national and regional preparedness plans have been updated and are ready.
The ministers discussed the possibility of accommodating additional or alternative gas supplies in the council, as increasing LNG volumes require EU-level coordination to maximize the use of the infrastructure.
'In any case, we will reach the end of this winter with an exceptionally low level of gas storage. If current trends continue, our latest projection of storage for April is 18%, compared to over 30% in the previous years. It is imperative that we now start to plan for a sufficient level of gas storage ahead of the next heating season,' Simson underlined.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya