Ukraine has many environmental problems, but from all of them we would like to highlight two particular issues:
- Waste generation, management and disposal
- Energy production and storage (heat and electricity), its costs, low efficiency and ecological footprint.
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1. WASTE GENERATION, MANAGEMENT AND DISPOSAL
- Ukraine is on 9th place in the ranking of countries, published by USA Today, with the highest amount of garbage production per inhabitant – 10.6 tons of garbage per person per year.
- According to the Ministry of Ecology, Ukraine produces annually a total of approximately 474 million tons of waste.
Waste disposal problem
- Approximately 90% of all municipal solid waste is sent to landfills and illegal dumps that cover a surface of approximately 8 500 hectares of land.
- 4 to 7% of the surface of Ukraine is littered with garbage.
- There are 6 500 authorized landfills (equal to the area of Cyprus) of which 25% do not meet environmental standards, and 35 000 non-regulated landfills (equivalent to the area of Belgium), according to Business UA.
Fortunately not all municipal solid waste goes to landfills. In Ukraine there are four waste incinerators, but only one of them is operating (up to date 2020) – it is the Kyiv plant, “Enerhia” in Pozniaky zone. It provides heat and hot water to a small number of apartments in Pozniaky, but still have some big flaws.
- It was built in Soviet times (in 1987) using old technology.
- It is capable to burn only 1.4% of the nation’s waste.
- On summer with high temperatures it emits very unpleasant odors and hazardous toxins that spreads through a large area of the city and its population.
- It needs modernization and a new systems of chemical purification of flue gases. To implement this project an inverstment of approximately 500 million UAH is needed.
2. ENERGY PRODUCTION AND STORAGE
Large import of fossil fuels
Our own fuel resources provide only 58% of Ukraine’s needs, the rest of them are imported.
According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity in 2017, the top imports in Ukraine were:
- petroleum gas (8.2%)
- refined petroleum (8.0%)
- coal briquettes (4.2%)
These three imports are 20.4% of the total of importations of Ukraine, with a total cost of $10.54B, which corresponds to a fifth part of Ukraine’s total imports ($51.7B). All of them are spent in different forms of carbon power generation: heat, gasoline and electricity.
Not enough national gas production
In 2019 national gas production has decreased by 1.4%, according to Naftogaz. The largest gas producer in the country, according to the 20/20 program, had to produce 18.3 billion cubic meters by 2019, but it reached only 15.5 billion. At the same time, the outstanding tax problem for the company is its historical tax debt, which has been holding back its development potential for many years.
OTHER SOURCES OF ENERGY
There are several hydroelectric power stations (Kakhovskaya, Dniprovska, Kanivska, Kyivska, etc.) that are located primarily on the Dnipro and Dnister rivers. The total installed capacity of the Ukrainian hydroelectric power stations is currently 8% of the total capacity of the combined energy-system of the country.
In the last decade (2010-2020), Ukraine has been working on solar energy, and nowadays there are 11 big solar parks across the country, for example: Okhotnykovo, Pokrovske, Starokozache, Nikopol.
Wind power in Ukraine is gradually expanding in capacity. By the end of 2017, 505 MW of wind power plants had been launched in the country. For 2019, 8 powerful wind farms were being built with a total capacity of almost 1 GW, some of them are: Botievska, Zaporizhia, Kramatorsk.
By 2020, many countries are quitting the traditional forms of energy and start using alternative energy: solar, wind and hydropower. These alternative sources of energy produce heat and electricity, but most important is that they cause much less damage to the environment.
There are challenges
Nonetheless, they still have some difficulties to overcome. The use of energy in the city during the day is very variable between the peak and off peak hours, and sometimes the energy production rate does not match the intensity of demand.
But the change is here
In order to take advantage of all the energy produced but not consumed because of low demand, the excedent energy can be stored in special batteries for further usage. In Ukraine the technology of energy batteries is not so developed.The promotion of renewable energy with the use of batteries can get Ukraine closer to complete independence in terms of energy for heat and electricity.
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