Newly appointed Minister of Energy and Environmental Protection, Oleksiy Orzhel, during his first press briefing, outlined the main priorities and directions of the renewed department. The main one is energy efficiency.
First of all, the Minister explained the logic of the unification of two ministries, which in some aspects should work separately (coordination of environmental impact assessments during the construction of new producing facilities or the development of subsoil, for example).
“What logic was laid in the unification of the ministries? This is a change of outlook and transition to an integrated approach to ecology, environmental protection and energy, taking into account global trends that exist in the world. We must ensure the formation of the most comprehensive policy – from the first stage of energy production to transmission, to its efficient use and reduction of harmful effects on the environment”.
Mr. Orzhel noted that a comprehensive government program is being prepared, which will be ready “in the near future” and will replace the existing strategy for the development of the industry:
“The energy strategy will definitely be revised because we have a strategy that is not being implemented,” the Minister said... “It is necessary to formulate a strategy due to which we will be absolutely independent and as environmentally efficient as possible. We also analyze the issues of energy losses – during transmission and delivery”.
Development priorities: increasing renewable energy capacities, creating accumulating capacities, increasing own production and energy efficiency.
“One of the extraordinary priorities that the new government lays down is energy efficiency... We will make every effort to ensure that the Ukrainian economy grows, so that people can afford to pay economically justified tariffs ... In particular, we are laying down certain steps by which energy efficiency at the infrastructure level will become a driver of economic growth in Ukraine”.
The main priorities in the direction of environmental protection: regulation of the problem in the field of waste management and the implementation of emission taxes:
“In the framework of the government’s work, emission taxes that harm the environment are considered separately. We will review harmful taxes – for example, a labor tax that does not stimulate work”, said Orzhel.
“As the theory shows, it is environmental taxes on emissions that are the most effective. Therefore, this policy will be actively implemented. Regarding environmental positions, there will be red lines. Energy will not be able to cross these red lines, because we live in both energy and the environment”, said the Minister.
At the same time, Orzhel outlined “operational priorities” in the energy sector:
- Heating season: coal in warehouses and a revision of the energy balance due to “non-launching of power unit No.1 of Khmelnitsky NPP”.
“We will be as open as possible regarding the situation with the preparation for the heating season”, Mr. Orzhel promised.
“Balance recalculation is already different volumes of coal supplies”
- Naftogaz, unbundling and signing of a gas transit contract:
“We are already working in close cooperation with Main Gas Pipeline of Ukraine, Naftogaz. Moreover, now, these days, we are working out – what is the best model of unbundling. It is already necessary to begin negotiations with the Russian side in full combat readiness”.
- Development of our own gas production:
“We are not using our potential, only 1 - 2% of total reserves, while the global trend is about 4 - 5%. This is a very low level, given that we are dependent on gas imports. In the near future there will be legislative initiatives to increase gas production”, said Orzhel”.
As previously reported, Ukraine, Poland and the United States had signed a gas cooperation memorandum that includes gas imports from the LNG terminal.