An adviser to Ukraine’s energy ministry said electricity supply in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv would be close to normal by Saturday.
Oleksandr Kharchenko, director of the Center for Energy Industry Research, told a briefing that a “key factor” in restoring power to Kyiv and Ukraine as a whole was the operation of the country’s three functioning nuclear power plants. He said he hoped they would be up and running by Friday night.
“The key factor right now is nuclear power plants. … There is a lack of power generation,” Kharchenko said. “As things stand, our nuclear plants will be at their normal planned capacity tonight. This will mean we will be back on our planned outage schedule and people will have power for at least 16 to 18 hours a day.”
“Tomorrow the city of Kyiv will have more or less normal electricity,” he added.
Kharchenko did not say when he expected power supplies to improve in other parts of the country.
According to the World Nuclear Association, Ukraine relies heavily on nuclear energy. Before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February, its 15 reactors at four plants generated about half the country’s electricity.
Kharchenko detailed the impact of Wednesday’s massive Russian missile attack on the power grid, which he said “recovered its integrity and ability to operate as a single system within 10 to 11 hours of the outage.”
In addition to reconnecting power plants, ramping up generation and managing grid balancing, engineers will need to repair equipment and “gradually” reconnect consumers without power, he said.
The attacks damaged or destroyed more than half of “critical equipment” on the high-voltage transmission network, he added.
“Even in a year, world production will not be enough to meet Ukraine’s needs. We are now in discussions with all producers of such equipment,” he said.
Kharchenko called on generators to mitigate the impact of further strikes.
“We are currently looking at generators of various power levels from around the world to protect our city during a power outage,” he said.
European Parliament President Roberta Mezzola has called on cities to donate generators and transformers to help Ukrainians survive the winter.
The U.S. ambassador to Kyiv said on Friday that the U.S. Agency for International Development had shipped 80 generators to Ukraine “to help maintain power supplies.”
Ambassador Bridget Brinker tweets “This support is just one part of the US response to Russia’s brutal, ongoing attacks on critical infrastructure as we continue #StandWithUkraine.”