March 26 – Natural gas is the mainstay of the economy as well as the national security of Ukraine. Today, there is no better alternative to this fuel on the way of our State to a carbon-free energy industry in the context of availability and reduction of harmful emissions into the atmosphere. This opinion was expressed by Olga Bielkova, Director on Government and International Affairs of Gas TSO of Ukraine during the expert online discussion “The Future of Gas in the Era of Decarbonization”.
In her speech, Ms. Bielkova outlined three areas of tasks and challenges facing Ukraine:
- The transition to renewable energy sources such as wind, solar energy, green hydrogen is a long-term goal, but in the short to medium term, natural gas will remain a key resource for the next 10-20 years, especially for heating. Natural gas is already much «cleaner» than coal today, and more affordable compared to financing terms for renewable energy sources. It is worth using this transitional gas potential until the moment when renewable energy sources can meet the needs of the energy market by 100%.
- Ukraine must be a player in the transition to a carbon neutral future, not an observer of the EU or a victim of outside decisions. Our country has something to offer the EU, especially in terms of gas transit for possible projects of transition from coal to natural gas in electricity generation. At the same time, effective developments can be gradually introduced in Ukraine.
- Decisions made outside Kyiv (whether climate policy or then new transit projects like Nord Stream 2 or Turkish Stream) have a disproportionately large impact on Ukraine with its economy weakened by various challenges. Ukraine cannot be expected to introduce all innovations of decarbonization without taking into account the detailed impact on the capabilities of the country’s economy. And it is natural gas that is the more affordable alternative.
The GTS operator is a significant donor of the state budget, therefore, the use of its capacities is a guarantee of the financial viability of the country. The efficiency of the Company depends on the workload of the GTS, which directly depends on the state policies of Ukraine and the EU. As Olga Bielkova noted, the motivation to replace more harmful types of fuel, such as coal or diesel, with natural gas will contribute not only to reducing CO2 emissions, but also to further more efficient functioning of the gas transportation system of Ukraine.
“Gas as a transitional fuel can help Ukraine become part of the EU’s Green Strategy, without going bankrupt. I urge the Government to study in detail the possibilities of using natural gas for electricity generation and use as a fuel for transportation in order to reduce emissions. Thus, the gas infrastructure will not become a burden for ordinary Ukrainian, but will be the solution to the decarbonization process”, – the speaker summed up.