On February 5, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal chaired a video conference with representatives of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany.
The meeting gathered together State Secretary for Energy of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany Andreas Feicht, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Ukraine Anka Feldhuzen, German Federal Government Commissioner for Structural Change in the Ukrainian Coal-Mining Regions Stanislaw Tillich, Minister for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine Olexii Chernyshov, acting Minister of Energy of Ukraine Yurii Vitrenko, representatives of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) and other officials.
The Prime Minister stressed that Germany’s experience in the successful closure of mines and the transformation of coal regions is particularly important for Ukraine, and welcomed the launch of a new energy partnership last August.
"We are prepared for the challenges facing Ukraine in the context of the green transition, the decarbonization of the economy and the need to reform the coal sector and the transformation of coal mining regions," stressed Denys Shmyhal.
The Prime Minister informed the German partners that the gradual abandonment of the use of coal envisages the development of the Concept and the State Program for the Transformation of Coal Regions. According to the Prime Minister, such a program is currently being elaborated for the period up to 2030.
Denys Shmyhal noted, currently, there are 61 coal regions in Ukraine. These are mono-cities that are tied to a single enterprise, coal mine or station.
"All these regions have the old infrastructure of the 60s and 80s of the last century. Depletion, mine closures and the gradual strategic closure of the coal mining industry, in general, will create social tensions in the future. We must take a number of strategic steps to provide social security for the people in these regions," the Prime Minister stressed.
The Head of Government noted that in this context, the experience and support of Germany and the European Union are of paramount importance for Ukraine. In this regard, Denys Shmyhal welcomed the establishment of the Partnership Secretariat and emphasized that the Government of Ukraine stands ready to cooperate with the Project Office for the Transformation of Coal Regions with the support of GIZ for the development and implementation of pilot projects.
"We have prepared two mines - in Donetsk and Lviv regions, which we proposed to take for the implementation of joint pilot projects. They must demonstrate the results of the transformation so that we can extend them to other coal regions," the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister stressed that Ukraine had chosen the European Green Deal as its strategy: "We have all the essential government programs, as well as the National Plan for Reducing Emissions from Large Combustion Plants."
In addition, Ukraine, according to Denys Shmyhal, should also launch a joint project to transform coal regions with the World Bank.
"It is important to ensure the transformation of coal regions is accompanied by the creation of new economic incentives so that new competitive clusters and new innovation and technological industries appear on the basis of coal industry enterprises. After all, the selected regions have the appropriate infrastructure: transport routes, substations, and power grids," said the Prime Minister.
The German Federal Government Commissioner for Structural Change in the Ukrainian Coal-Mining Regions Stanislaw Tillich noted that Germany expresses readiness to accompany the process of transformation of coal regions within the framework of the energy partnership with Ukraine.
For his part, State Secretary for Energy of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy of Germany Andreas Feicht added during the meeting that Germany also seeks to deepen the partnership with Ukraine in the field of hydrogen energy.