So how is round twice better than blue?
In a press release issued today, 4 January 2010, the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine [NECU] and the Ukrainian River NGO Network accuse the Ukrainian Government of ignorance and of trying to manipulate public opinion.
They note that at the end of 2009 the Cabinet of Ministers issued a number of statements and addresses by high-ranking officials claiming advantages and benefits from the completion of the Dniester Hydro-Accumulating Electric Power Station [Dniester HAPS] in the Chernivtsi region.
The Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, for example, stated that the Dniester HAPS, implemented by the Government, was the largest electric power station in Europe and that its capacity was twice that of the Dnipro Hydro-Electric Power Station. She asserted that Ukraine would receive an additional large amount of hydro-electricity, and that the Dniester HAPS “is one of the alternative sources of energy which makes it possible to research the consumption of natural gas, coal, as well as harmful emissions into the atmosphere”.
NECU and the Dniester Basin Working Group of the Ukrainian River NGO Network which includes 52 NGOs from the Dniester Basin, wish to inform that the facts and figures in these statements demonstrate ignorance and an attempt to manipulate public opinion.
According to Viktor Melnychuk, NECU Executive Director, “Comparing the Dnipro Hydro-Electric Power Station with the Dniester Hydro-Accumulating Electric Power Station is the same as comparing “blue” and “round”, and saying that “round” is two times better than “blue”. As far as “capacity” and “amount” of electricity is concerned, the information is manipulation by energy workers. A hydro-accumulating electric power station consumes approximately 40% more electricity than it produces.”
A hydro-accumulating electric power station is not a main source of electricity, but merely an accumulator, while being furthermore a considerable energy consumer. It does not work only in turbine mode, when it produces electricity, but also in pump mode when it consumes it from the combined energy systems. Logically, for the constructed Dniester HAPS (with 7 storage pumps of 324 Megawatts) to work one day, the Dnipro Hydro-Electric Station (1538 Megawatts) needs to work for a day and a half, and only to provide for the work of the Dniester HAPS in pumping mode.
“A hydro-accumulating electric power station needs the same thermal power station for its energy accumulating needs as a nuclear power station. There are therefore no grounds for speaking of a reduction in the consumption of natural gas, coal or of harmful emissions. Hydro-Accumulating stations are not intended at all for producing additional electricity, and are merely an outdated and high-consumption technology for regulating peak loads and stabilizing frequency”, Halyna Protsiv, Coordinator of the Dniester Basin Working Group explains.
Independent experts and NGOs are convinced that the Dniester Hydro-Electric Power System which includes the Dniester HAPS has a seriously adverse effect on the ecosystem of the Middle and Lower Dniester. This impact is already being seen in the failure to maintain a normal water regime in the Lower Dniester where people are also living, needing drinking water and water for the technical requirements for ensuring proper quantity and amount. At the same time the public is misled with statements about the great advantages to sending huge amounts on finishing the Dniester HAPS and fairytales about Ukraine’s energy safety.
“The Dniester Hydro-Electric Power Stations 1 and 2 have not undergone the mandatory procedure for State environmental assessments as required by Ukrainian legislation. Rules have yet to be drawn up governing the exploitation of the Dniester, and also the buffer reservoir of the Dniester HAPS which is simply the destroyed main riverbed of the Dniester over 26 kilometers. Are they entirely uninterested in economic efficiency, the safety of the local population, the environment and public opinion?”, Oleksandr Stepanenko, Leader of the public campaign “Dniester Environmental Wave”, asks.
In the meantime the first storage pump of the Dniester has already been put in action. Only time will tell the economic, social and environmental consequences of implementing six other storage pumps.