DTEK launches giant 100-megawatt wind farm in Zaporizhia Oblast

Rising three dozen stories above the Azov Sea coast near the small village of Orlivka in Zaporizhia Oblast, 26 wind turbines spin their blades, drawing power from the gusty cold November winds.

Launched on Nov. 15, this 100-megawatt wind farm, worth 131 million euros, became DTEK’s sixth major renewable project. DTEK is Ukraine’s largest private energy holding and is owned by Rinat Akhmetov, the country’s wealthiest man.

The energy generated by the Orlivka wind farm will be enough to provide 190,000 households with electricity.

DTEK now has 500 megawatts of wind generation in Zaporizhia Oblast. The company’s combined renewable assets in Ukraine now total 950 megawatts, putting it within easy reach of its 1 gigawatt target.

“This will put Zaporizhia Oblast as one of the centers of new clean energy generation and it will underline again Zaporizhia’s historical role as a center of investment of Ukrainian society through introduction of new technologies in energy sector,” Phillipp Leckebusch, CEO of DTEK Renewables, stated during the opening ceremony.

Turbines for the Orlivka wind farm were built by Danish manufacturer Vestas, which provides a 25-year guarantee on the equipment. DTEK had built its previous two wind farms with turbines from General Electric, which provides a 20-year guarantee.

“These are colossal investments,” said Andrii Antonov, deputy head of Zaporizhia regional state administration. “Everybody understands that it’s additional jobs, local taxes, development of social and utility infrastructure.”

According to Antonov, DTEK’s customs fees paid for dozens of kilometers of roads in the region.

While the shiny new wind turbines strike a stark contrast against the area’s abandoned and crumbling buildings, officials hope that economic revival will alleviate local poverty.

The project is also a step towards weaning Ukraine off its dependency on fossil fuels, including oil and gas imports.

“Every wind farm, every solar power plant that is introduced in Ukraine today is a breath of energy independence, economy and most importantly, investment in the regions,” said Andriy Konechenkov, chairman of the board at Ukrainian Wind Energy Association.

Konechenkov added that wind farms offer the greatest potential for healthy and ecologically friendly development.

DTEK has around 20% share of all renewable energy generation in the country, according to Leckebusch. The company’s total renewable investments, including wind and solar, has now reached one billion euros.

Aside from its projects in Zaporizhia Oblast, DTEK also has two giant solar power stations in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast — one 200 megawatt and one 240 megawatt plant, which is the second largest solar power installation in Europe. The company also has relatively small 10 megawatt solar power station in southern Kherson Oblast.

According to Leckebusch, the company plans to build another gigawatt of renewable energy capacity in the future.

Meanwhile, state officials are eager to attract other investors to Zaporizhia.

“I want to assure every investor, both foreign and domestic, DTEK and other companies that Zaporizhia region is open for investments, open for cooperation,” said Egor Semenkov, first deputy of the head of Zaporizhia Oblast Council.

Source: Kyiv Post