Wind Energy Picks Up Slightly In Ukraine

Is Ukraine finally going to get going with wind power? The announcement that a pilot program was beginning to come online provides some hope, but the country has a long, long way to go.

At the end of 2010, Ukraine had just 87 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity, according to the European Wind Energy Association. That’s a small fraction of neighboring Romania’s 482 MW and a barely visible speck compared to continent-leader Germany’s 27,214 MW. (The United States had 40,180 MW of installed capacity at the end of 2010, according to the American Wind Energy Association.)

Wind power, Ukraine

image via European Wind Energy Association

Word about this new wind initiative in Ukraine comes from Worldwide News Ukraine (WNU), which appears to be an at least semi-official English-language government news service. WNU said three of 23 planned wind power units, each with a capacity of 2.5 MW, were going online this month, and that completion of the entire project in the Donetsk region was expected in 2015.

According to WNU, Ukraine relies heavily on imported energy, mostly natural gas, and is taking advantage of “only 0.2 percent of its wind capacity.” The country wants to boost total alternative energy generation up to 6 percent, WNU said, and foresees wind energy providing eventually providing 20 percent of its needed electricity. According to the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association, the biggest hurdle to development of wind in the country has been a lack of financing.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.