New tool in Russian energy policy may be coal

Despite the bitter political conflict, the Ukraine passed the heating season of 2014-2015 by importing gas, coal and electricity from Russia. Traditionally, in the center of events in public were gas relations. But in fact, gas means not as much as coal for the energy of the Ukraine - it provides 47% of electricity generation. The country can’t take anthracite, locked in the war zone, import alternative is too expensive and is not covered by the tariff, coal stocks are falling. By the beginning of the new heating season, the Ukraine will have to solve the problems of its coal industry or just to prepare for large-scale imports, financing of which is made difficult because of low energy tariffs and exchange rate differences.

The difficult heating season of 2014-2015 is being completed in the Ukraine. Preliminary results show that the only thing, with which the country was lucky this time, was the weather. Warm winter allowed the country to save fuel. "If the average temperature dropped by five degrees, the system would collapse," – DTEK’s director of business Vitaly Butenko says. But the flip side of the snowless winter became a critical situation with water content at hydro electric power plants (8.6% of installed capacity in the Ukraine), which registered a 45-year low.

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