Power supply to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv will near normal levels by Saturday, according to an adviser to the country’s energy ministry.
Oleksandr Kharchenko, director of the Energy Industry Research Center, said at a briefing that the “key factor” in restoring power in Kyiv and across Ukraine was the operation of the country’s three functional nuclear plants. He said he expected them to be working at normal capacity by Friday night.
“Now the key factor is nuclear power plants. … There is currently a lack of power generation,” Kharchenko said. “Judging by the situation, our nuclear power plants will reach their normal planned capacity by tonight. This will mean that we will return to the planned outage schedules and people will receive electricity for at least 16 to 18 hours a day.”
“The city of Kyiv will have more or less normal electricity coverage tomorrow,” he added.
Kharchenko did not say when he expected the power supply to the rest of the country to improve.
Ukraine is heavily dependent on nuclear energy, according to the World Nuclear Association. Before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February, the 15 reactors at its four plants generated about half of the nation’s electricity.
Kharchenko went into detail about the impact of Wednesday’s large-scale Russian missile assault on the energy grid, which he said “returned to its integrity and ability to operate as a single system within 10 to 11 hours” of the blackout.
In addition to reconnecting the power plants, increasing their generation capacity and managing the balance of the grid, engineers needed to repair equipment and “step by step” reconnect consumers who had been disconnected, he said.
The attacks damaged or destroyed more than half of the “key equipment” of the high voltage electricity transmission network, he added.
“The world will not produce the quantity enough to cover Ukrainian needs even within a year. We are now in discussion with all producers of such equipment,” he said.
Kharchenko appealed for generators to mitigate the impact of further strikes.
“We are currently seeking generators of all power levels, from all over the world, to secure our cities in case of blackout,” he said.
The head of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, has called on cities to donate generators and transformers to help Ukrainians get through the winter.
The US ambassador in Kyiv said on Friday that USAID had delivered 80 generators to Ukraine “to help keep the power on.”
Ambassador Bridget Brink tweeted “this support is just one part of the U.S. response to Russia’s cruel, sustained attack on critical infrastructure as we continue to #StandWithUkraine.”