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Ukraine Sectors

What is Ukraineʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

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.10 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 2050.14

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 2050.14

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.

1 Government of Ukraine. 2020 Common Reporting Format (CRF) Table. (2020).

2 Prokip, A. The Energy Crisis in Ukraine: Predicted, But Still a Surprise. Focus Ukraine: A blog of the Kennan Institute. (2020).

3 Kinstellar. Ukraine introduces long-awaited changes to incentives for renewable energy. Lexology. (2020).

4 Mykhailenko, O. et al. Quarterly Monitoring Report on the Implementation of Ukraine’s Energy Action Plan. (2019).

5 Government of Ukraine. Ukraine’s energy strategy for the period up to 2035. (2017).

6 Climate Action Tracker. Ukraine | Climate Target Update Tracker.

7 Government of Ukraine. Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of Ukraine to a New Global Climate Agreement. (2015).

8 Government of Ukraine. Ukraine will intensify its participation in the global fight against climate change – President at the International Climate Ambition Summit. (2020).

9 Government of Ukraine. Ukraine. 2020 National Inventory Report (NIR). (2020).

10 Government of Ukraine. On approval of the National Transport Strategy of Ukraine for the period up to 2030. (2018).

11 Government of Ukraine. Green Energy Transition of Ukraine until 2050. (2020).

12 Climate Action Tracker. Ukraine | June 2020 Update. (2020).

13 Global Forest Watch. Ukraine Deforestation Rates & Statistics | GFW. (2020).

14 IEF. Support to the Government of Ukraine on updating its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) -Report 3/ Modelling Report. (2021).

15 Ministry of Energy and Environmental Protection Ukraine. КОНЦЕПЦІЯ ЕНЕРГЕТИЧНОГО УКРАЇНИ (Ukraine Green Deal). (2020).

16 Government of Ukraine. Ukraine – Common Reporting Format (CRF) Table. (2021).

17 Breunig, J. A revision of Ukraine’s Carbon Tax. (2020).

18 GIZ. Successful climate mitigation through emissions trading. (2021).

19 Ministry of Energy and Environmental Protection Ukraine. Analytical Review of the Updated Nationally Determined Contribution of Ukraine to the Paris Agreement. (2021). Report_ Project_EN.PDF

20 Government of Ukraine. On approval of the National Transport Strategy of Ukraine for the period up to 2030. (2018).

21 UkraineInvest. Electric cars market growth: how Ukraine can benefit. (2020).

22 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

Ukraineʼs power mix

terawatt-hour per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
SSP1 High CDR reliance
Low energy demand
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Renewables incl. biomass

Ukraineʼs power sector emissions and carbon intensity


  • Historical emissions
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • Low energy demand
  • 100%RE

1.5°C compatible power sector benchmarks

Carbon intensity, renewable generation share, and fossil fuel generation share from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Ukraine

Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
50 to 120
−60 to 0
−540 to −30
2037 to 2040
Relative to reference year in %
−85 to −66%
−118 to −100%
−259 to −109%
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
0 to 1
Share of unabated gas
0 to 1
2038 to 2044
Share of renewable energy
62 to 68
85 to 88
89 to 100
Share of unabated fossil fuel
11 to 17
0 to 3


Demand shifting towards the power sector

The 1.5°C compatible pathways analysed here tend to show a strong increase in power generation and installed capacities across time. This is because end-use sectors (such as transport, buildings or industry) are increasingly electrified under 1.5°C compatible pathways, shifting energy demand to the power sector. Globally, the “high energy demand” pathway entails a particularly high degree of renewable energy-based electrification across the various sectors, and sees a considerable increase in renewable energy capacities over time. See the power section for capacities deployment under the various models.

Ukraineʼs renewable electricity investments

Billion USD / yr


Yearly investment requirements in renewable energy

Across the set of 1.5°C pathways that we have analysed, annual investments in renewable energy excluding BECCS increase in Ukraine to be on the order of USD 3 to 19 billion by 2030 and 2 to 15 billion by 2040 depending on the scenario considered. The ‘High CDR’ scenario, which shows comparatively lower annual investments into renewables, has lower levels of electrification and at the global level relies more on carbon capture and storage and negative emissions technologies – which themselves can require high up-front costs and face sustainability constraints.