To better understand what energy security is, let us imagine that your family has built a house and is waiting for electricity and gas to get connected so you can live in comfort with light, hot water, and heat.
If the country has a sufficient number of energy sources, proper capacities to generate electricity, and heat to be supplied in a timely and uninterruptible manner to your home by suppliers, you will be confident that you will have as much light, hot water, and heat as you need. In other words, you will feel energy secured. Energy security is the confidence that available energy will be in the quantity and of the quality needed under the specific conditions.
Ukraine is only partially provided with conventional primary fuels, therefore it is forced to import them. At the same time, it is logical to minimize cooperation with those country-suppliers that pose a threat to Ukraine’s territorial integrity, as under such conditions it is impossible to feel energy secured.
Energy security is protection of the state, its citizens, and economy against a threat of an energy deficit. In other words, energy security is confidence in the availability, affordability, and possibility to, in a stable manner, receive fuel and energy of proper quality both under normal conditions and in emergencies. Energy security is protection of the vitally important “energy interests” of the state and its citizens against internal and external threats.
What can jeopardize the country’s energy security?
- Any events that can restrict or disrupt the energy supply.
- Critical dependence on fuel imports and disadvantageous conditions of country-suppliers.
- Dependence of exports and imports on transportation through other countries.
- Monopolization of fuel and energy generation and supplies.
- Failure to comply with operation, labor safety, and fire-fighting rules.
- Natural disasters that cause destruction/damage of production and/or transportation facilities.
- Weather anomalies, such as drought that results in low water level in rivers, affecting the water supply to power facilities.
- Technical condition of equipment.
- Non-payments and debts destabilizing the functioning of the power sector.
As in other countries, an issue of energy security has occurred in Ukraine when the state declared independence. The issue became especially acute when the Russian hybrid aggression against Ukraine started. The constant threats of disrupting energy resources from Russia resulted in the necessity to look at the energy security issue essentially in a new light, as energy security is an integral part of economic and national security, an essential condition of a state’s existence.
The energy sector is a strategically important part of Ukraine’s economy. Vital activity in all areas of society and citizens’ well-being depend on the safe, stable functioning and sustainable development of the energy sector. The Ukrainian energy sector has an enormous potential to attract investments and it is actively engaged in reforming.
The reforms are aimed at giving the energy sector an impetus towards its development, making it compliant with EU norms and standards, forming full-fledged natural gas and electricity markets with transparent and competitive pricing and proper customer protections. Implementing European legislation and introducing European standards will promote the acceleration of positive transformations in the energy sector, enhancing the energy security of this state and improving the quality of services for household customers. These actions are also sought to optimize the energy balance and to enhance economic, energy, and ecological security, particularly in the context of external aggression. The main purpose of all these transformations is to enhance Ukraine’s energy security and to lay a solid foundation for the country’s sustainable energy future.
In coordination with state authorities, private businesses, and civil society leaders, USAID Energy Security Project (ESP) promotes enhancing the energy security level and transforming the Ukrainian energy sector into a modern, EU-integrated, and market-oriented sector that is a driver of the country’s growth. ESP is providing support to develop the electricity and gas sectors, renewable energy, and district heating. USAID ESP promotes updating the legal and regulatory framework of the energy sector and higher reliability of energy supply. Support for the activities of the sector’s main institutes lays the foundation to ensure reliable, sustainable, affordable, and safe energy supply to citizens. USAID ESP helps Ukraine to integrate into the European energy markets and to enhance the energy security level by developing competitive electricity, natural gas, and heating markets, as well as building-up available energy resources wiht private investments in development and higher utilization of renewable energy sources.