Report of the Evaluation of energy issues in Ukraine (for winter 2023-2024)

Grünewald, F. & Issen, D.
Publication language
Date published
20 Oct 2023
Groupe URD
Research, reports and studies
Conflict, violence & peace, Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG)
Groupe URD

In 2022 and 2023, Ukrainians and international players made considerable efforts to deal with the dramatic situation caused by Russian bombardments on energy infrastructures and to reduce the dramatic impact of energy cuts on the population. All the players targeted the needs of individuals and essential structures such as hospitals, schools and social institutions. However, actions in non-traditional humanitarian aid sectors have been of very variable quality. To go beyond the provision of classic winterization products and strategically address the issue of energy, it would undoubtedly have been necessary to devise a mechanism outside the Cluster system as defined by the United Nations, as numerous initiatives linked to Ukrainian and French NGOs, local authorities, the diaspora, etc. have done. In fact, while the massive deliveries of generators were decisive in this "winter battle", they also revealed "areas for improvement" in terms of technical aspects (choice of models), organization (maintenance, repairs), economics (where to find the money to run the generator?) and, more generally, coordination within the "energy" sector. The proposals that emerge from this mission are organized around several axes:

  • Protecting equipment and people;
  • Storing energy, fuels and equipment, particularly as part of contingency plans;
  • Equipment maintenance;
  • Ensuring repair capacity ;
  • Reducing risks and limiting vulnerability ;
  • Develop mechanisms and capabilities to replace what cannot be repaired.

The unknowns hanging over the coming winter are considerable, and can be summed up in a few major questions, each of which is rooted in an analysis of the response to the past winter, and attempts to explore the uncertainties for the winter to come:

  • After a series of rather moderate winters, what will the weather be like in winter 2023-24?
  • Having seen the effects of last winter's targeted strikes on Ukraine's energy infrastructure, and the depletion of resources to repair it, is Russia preparing a new winter campaign to destroy critical infrastructure (they know exactly where and how, as little has changed in terms of critical infrastructure since Ukraine's independence in 1991)?
  • Can these critical infrastructures be rebuilt if last winter's situation is repeated for the winter of 2023-24?

What is quite clear at the end of this mission is that the efforts made by the Ukrainians and the international community to prepare for the coming winter are already well underway, but include a number of blind spots and areas where resources are still inadequate.