Resilient and renewable – modelling Ukraine’s energy system

Ukraine’s updated Energy Strategy 2050 was adopted in 2023 – yet it remains unavailable to the public. The Ukrainian government is doubling down on investments into new nuclear generation as the most cost-efficient path forward, and pushing the half-nuclear and half-renewable generation by 2050. This approach might create challenges for energy supply amid short-term power disruptions and has already been challenged by independent researchers.

In this landscape, private investment in renewables remains low, whereas investments in new flexible generation and storage are hampered by a list of regulatory constraints. The continuing Russian bombing campaign of the Ukrainian power sector chips away its remaining flexible coal and hydro capacities. With rising electricity prices, consumers are crowding for small-scale solar for self-consumption which provides lucrative savings on bills. With non-dispatchable PV growing unchecked, it threatens to push the limits of flexibility in the system and into sub-optimal and more costly dispatch in the near future.

Ukraine is hence facing a dilemma of providing in the short run resilience to final customers, and managing system growth and new capacity roll-out in the long run. This poses a challenge for the system operator Ukrenergo. Poland’s recent story of unmanaged solar growth resulting in significant curtailment and grid instabilities might be a useful inspiration on how (not) to design power systems and to create investment signals and reach desirable power mix.

Instrat will be leading the consortium consisting of like-minded energy policy and modelling professionals. After years of making impact in inspiring government strategies in Poland with research on integrating high renewables penetration, we have invited two very skilled partners to collaborate in this endeavor:

Clean Energy Lab, a think tank based in Kyiv, led by Oleksii Mykhailenko brings unique insights into Ukraine’s energy and policy landscape. Having modelled Ukraine’s energy transition pathways, Oleksii brings invaluable experience in designing a market almost from the scratch and with insufficient access to necessary data.

Open Energy Transition, a data-driven non-profit software house and consultancy, led by Max Parzen, excels in open-source software based energy planning. Their team provides expert planning knowledge and commercial software support focusing on the free and open-source PyPSA ecosystem, a globally recognisable framework for energy planning used by system operators, policy-makers and research. This framework has also been used by Instrat since 2020 in Poland (PyPSA-PL). 

A practical result of our work will be the establishment of the open-source and reproducible energy policy and planning tool PyPSA-UA. We will be developing the Ukrainian expertise in modelling and establishing grounds for a series of data-driven research aimed at providing an independent and professional view of the risks and opportunities for the Ukrainian energy sector. We believe that insights from the model itself and research could facilitate policy analysis, enhance modelling expertise on the ground, and lay the groundwork for future expansion of the power system.

Research program:


Bloomberg Philanthropies

Project leader:

and news

Project date:

2023 - 2025

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