This analysis was conducted on the basis of Ukraine’s 2021 updated nationally determined contribution and before the brutal and unwarranted Russian military invasion in the country.
We are publishing it to show that the Ukrainian government had plans in place to facilitate a transition to a low carbon economy.
Once peace is restored, in addition to very large reconstruction and humanitarian needs, Ukraine will need international support to build a climate-resilient society and economy in line with the Paris Agreement.
Power sector in 2030
In its Energy Strategy to 2035, Ukraine forecasts a continued use of fossil fuels in the power sector well beyond 2030, constituting 34% and 32% of total power generation in 2030 and 2035 respectively. This is in strong contrast to fossil fuel use shown in 1.5°C compatible scenarios: a maximum of 16% of generation in 2030, with some scenarios showing a total phase out of coal by 2030 and natural gas by 2036-2040. A failure to implement a 1.5°C compatible 2030 coal phase out policy, risks the creation of stranded assets and expensive electricity supply.
Power sector pathways that are 1.5°C compatible stipulate a carbon emissions intensity of just 40-120 gCO₂/kWh in 2030, a reduction of 61-87% below 2017 levels. All 1.5°C compatible scenarios show that Ukraine can achieve this with negligible levels of negative emissions technologies.
The Energy Strategy to 2035 is currently being revised and was set to be resubmitted for approval in Q2 2021, but has yet to be released. This is an ideal opportunity to entrench a higher degree of ambition and a faster transition in the power sector. A 1.5°C compatible level of renewable energy generation for Ukraine in 2030 would be at least 67%, compared to the 8% seen in 2018.
Towards a fully decarbonised power sector
As part of its updated NDC, Ukraine released an accompanying modelling report which outlines the technical feasibility of a 58% share of renewable energy in total electricity generation by 2050.
This does not represent an official target and falls considerably short of the lower end of Ukraine’s 1.5°C compatible renewable energy share range in 2050 of 89-99%, which is derived from scenarios that demonstrate technically feasible pathways. The same modelling released alongside its updated NDC showed that under its ‘Climate Neutral Economy’ scenario, carbon-free power, which includes nuclear power, could reach 99% by 2050.
Ukraine’s substantial nuclear capacity means that the carbon intensity of its power sector could reach close to zero by 2030 without very high levels of renewable generation. In light of this, Ukraine’s 1.5°C compatible power sector trajectory sees the power sector reach zero emissions around 2035.