Ukraine Braces for Second Winter of Power Outages Amidst Ongoing Conflict

by Jennifer

As Ukraine heads into its second winter since the onset of the ongoing conflict with Russia, the country’s energy system remains vulnerable to prolonged power outages due to relentless missile and drone attacks. Despite efforts by thousands of engineers over the summer to repair damaged equipment, and improved air defenses to counter the attacks, preparations for the winter season have not been fully completed due to a lack of resources and time.

The ongoing conflict with Russia has inflicted significant damage on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, with the United Nations estimating that the country’s power generation capacity has been reduced to about half of pre-invasion levels. Out of nearly 37 gigawatts (GW), over 19 GW have been damaged, destroyed, or occupied. The direct damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure was estimated at $8.8 billion as of June 2023.


Last winter, Ukrainians living away from the frontline experienced an average of 35 days without power, which also affected water supply. While mild weather, rapid repairs, nuclear power, and electricity imports from Europe helped alleviate the situation, officials anticipate tougher conditions this winter.


Efforts are being made to improve Ukraine’s energy resilience, including reinforcing power units with sandbags, concrete blocks, and anti-drone grids. Additionally, seven nuclear power units are prepared for winter, and the country has stored enough gas to last the winter without imports for the first time in decades.

Despite these preparations, the energy system’s reliability remains lower than before targeted strikes, but Ukraine is actively preparing for potential disruptions caused by continued attacks.

Some businesses and cities have taken measures to build their own energy capacity through small-scale renewables and generators. However, challenges such as sporadic attacks on oil depots pose threats to the fuel supply needed for generators.

Ukraine is determined to bolster its energy resilience and mitigate the impact of ongoing conflict-related challenges as it approaches another challenging winter season.

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