Energyenergy consumers; it consumes almost double the energy of Germany, per unit of GDP. A great share of energy supply in Ukraine comes from nuclear power, with the country receiving most of its nuclear fuel from Russia. The remaining oil and gas is also imported from the former Soviet Union. Ukraine is heavily dependent on its nuclear power. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, is located in Ukraine.
In 2006, the government planned to build 11 new reactors by the year 2030, in effect, almost doubling the current amount of nuclear power capacity. Ukraine’s power sector is the twelfth-largest in the world in terms of installed capacity, with 54 gigawatts (GW). In 2007 47.4% of power came from coal and gas (approx 20% gas), 47.5% from nuclear (92.5 TWh) and 5% from hydro.
Currently the country has four active nuclear power stations, located in Kuznetsovsk, Enerhodar, Yuzhnoukrainsk and Netishyn. In addition to these active plants, a fifth reactor complex had been planned for the Crimea, but construction was suspended indefinitely in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, a major nuclear incident which took place at the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station, 110 km (68 mi) north of Kiev.
All of Ukraine’s RBMK reactors (the type involved in the Chernobyl disaster), were located at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. All of the reactors there have been shut down leaving only VVER reactors operating in the country, which are much safer than RBMK units. Three of these new-type reactors were built since 1991 in the independent Ukraine (with the first one in 1995), whilst the other sixteen were inherited from the Soviet Union. The share of renewables within the total energy mix is still very small, but is growing fast. Total installed capacity of renewable energy installations more than doubled in 2011 and now stands at 397 MW. Indeed, 2011 was a breakthrough year for renewable energy commercialisation in Ukraine, especially for solar energy. First, Okhotnykovo Solar Park, one of the world’s largest, was put into operation in July. Then, six months later, Europe’s largest solar park was completed in Perovo, (Crimea). Ukrainian State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Conservation forecasts that combined installed capacity of wind and solar power plants in Ukraine could increase by another 600 MW in 2012. According to Macquarie Research, by 2016 Ukraine will construct and commission new PV facilities with a total capacity of 1.8 GW, which is almost equivalent to the capacity of two nuclear reactors.
The Economic Bank for Reconstruction and Development estimates that Ukraine has great renewable energy potential: the technical potential for wind energy is estimated at 40 TWh/year, small hydro at 8.3 TWh/year, biomass at 120 TWh/year, and solar energy at 50 TWh/year.
In March 2011, Mykyta Konstantinov, director of the strategic policy, investment and nuclear energy complex department at the Ministry of Energy and Coal Mining Industry of Ukraine, said that the installed capacity of alternative and renewable energy sources will increase to 9% (about 6 GW) of the total electricity production in the country.