Ukraine was urgently connected to the European electricity grid

They’re hitting the same pulse now. On Wednesday, March 16 at 11:15 am, the Ukrainian electricity grid, which was connected to Russia before the outbreak of the war, was synchronized with the European grid. This connection, which should make it possible to guarantee the stability of the Ukrainian system and to come to the aid of the country in the event of a power failure, is a technical and political feat.

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« Ukraine has joined the European Energy Unionwelcomed Ukrainian president, Volodomyr Zelensky. As of now, Ukrainian electricity circulates in the European Union and vice versa. “I salute the important step taken today to keep the lights on and keep homes warm in these dark times,” The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also responded.

This operation is the result of a process that started several years ago, but was accelerated by the war. While the connection should have been ready in 2023, everything finally gained momentum. “We managed to achieve in three weeks what we should have done in a year and a half! † delighted, in a videothe CEO of the Ukrenergo network, Volodymyr Kudrytskyi.

Exercise scheduled for February 23

As of 2017, Ukraine is requesting participation in the European plate. Then it undertakes great works and means to bring itself up to standard. “If you are connected to the network, from Portugal to Turkey via Poland, you work in the same way, with the same rules, explains Laurent Rosseel, Regional Director of the European Network of Electricity Transmission System Operators (Entso-E) Continental Europe. It’s like being in an orchestra, everyone has to play the same score. †

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As part of this process, the country will need to conduct tests to see if its network can operate fully “isolated” for three days. The dates of the exercise have been set for a long time: on February 23, 2022 at 11 p.m. the country will disconnect from Russia. Coincidence or not, a few hours later, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the offensive. “Despite the war, the Ukrainians carried out all the tests, they were extraordinary, says Mr Rosseel, who is also deputy director of national dispatching within the French electricity transmission network (RTE). We were chatting with them on video and we could hear the bombing behind…”

On February 26, the Ukrainians decide not to reconnect to the Russian network for political and technical reasons. They then call for help and ask to be urgently synchronized with the European network. The power grid operators immediately set out to solve the technical and legal problems, establish procedures, a secure communication system… On March 11, while the European heads of state and government are meeting in Versailles, the twenty-six members of Entso will -E unanimously decide to synchronize Kiev. “It was important to do it technically, humanly and symbolically”, says Xavier Piechaczyk, chairman of the board of directors of RTE.

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