Insights from the 4th Ukrainian-German Business Forum
Yulia Burmistenko, Advisor to DTEK CEO on international affairs
The 4th Ukrainian-German Business Forum took place in Berlin on March 19. It was attended by nearly 400 representatives from the business and investment community as well as German and Ukrainian government officials. Discussions centred on a common theme: the EU Green Deal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the Forum, confirming that Ukraine has a special place in strengthening Europe's energy security, especially with regard to transit infrastructure. Given Germany’s particular experience with transforming its energy sector, it is critical that those best practices are shared with Ukraine in coal and just transition. Additionally, further cooperation with our German partners will allow us to seize opportunities in the development of renewable energy sources and the hydrogen economy. Hydrogen was paid special attention during the discussions. Ukraine reaffirmed its desire to become a key partner in the implementation of the EU’s Hydrogen Strategy. Energy has a special role to play in developing Ukrainian-German relations, as noted by the invited speakers in their speeches and discussions.
- Mr. Vitrenko (acting Minister of Energy of Ukraine) and Mr. Feicht (State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy of Germany) agreed that energy transition will be the basis for fundamental economic transformation and the creation of new jobs. As such, increasing the share of RES should be simultaneously accompanied by the development of opportunities for energy storage, such as green hydrogen and batteries. Mr. Feicht emphasized that a "master plan" is required, however it will need flexibility given the innovative processes that are inevitable throughout the course of the energy transition. In summary, a stable and clear framework for investors and competitive markets are required in order to reduce the cost of energy transition.
- The next matter related to both countries’ experience was RES support mechanisms. It was noted that Germany has already taken a similar path to the one Ukraine is currently pursuing. In this regard, it is important to maintain investor confidence and develop work formats that enable decisions to be made in close consultation with the government and businesses. According to our German partners, it is also important for the market to operate efficiently as it acts as the main driver of energy transition. Mr. Meixner (Senior Vice President, Europe, Siemens Energy AG) stressed the importance of functioning auction mechanisms for RES that are capable of ensuring the stability and confidence of investors.
- Talking about specific hydrogen projects, the German government plans to launch two models of international cooperation in which Ukraine will be actively involved by September 2021. This will entail:
- Establishing the H2Global Foundation to be involved in green hydrogen auctions. The German Government will compensate enterprises for the price differential of hydrogen technologies to ensure the creation and expansion of the hydrogen market
- Introducing rules when granting subsidies for individual hydrogen projects. Two areas will be covered: directly producing green hydrogen, which will then be exported to Germany, and processing hydrogen into methanol or synthetic fuels.
DTEK is pleased to contribute to the partnership between Germany and Ukraine in the areas of renewable energy, just transition, energy efficiency and hydrogen. DTEK was the first Ukrainian company to join the ‘Hydrogen Europe’ trade association, which gathers leaders in applying hydrogen technologies in Europe. This membership allows the company to establish a network of direct contacts with international partners interested in the development of hydrogen economics in Ukraine and across the world.
For this reason, we invite all energy sector players in Ukraine to join homework on reforms and align their activities with the green transition – or ‘Energiewende’, as our German partners call it – to achieve carbon neutrality in our country.