General environmental problems and their solutions

Energy sector which embraces primary energy production (mining), processing and transmission components is a very complicated structure of economic, environmental, technological and production subsystems that cause actively impacts on the natural environment. These impacts are widely varied in their specific components as they usually affect different elements of natural environment at a time (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere etc.) and result in different consequences (alienation of affected areas, landscape deterioration, physical damages, chemical and radioactive contamination, thermal, radiation, acoustic influences and other physical effects). These negative impacts become apparent both on the local / regional level and worldwide.

Therefore, one of the top priority objectives of the power engineering sector of Ukraine, that is the main line of the sector development, is formation of prerequisites for the sector operators to meet the national demand for primary energy inputs on the one hand and to provide for strict adherence to requirements of efficient use of natural reserves and reduction of the negative environmental effects on the other hand, as required by the international environmental protection covenants signed by Ukraine and by the relevant national social-and-economic development policy priorities, objectives and limitations.

The strategic objectives of the above policies are as follows:

  • ensure top priority of the environmental safety requirements and oblige the relevant parties to comply with the environmental protection standards and regulations, including those that regulate the natural resources utilization;
  • reduce significantly, minimize or totally eliminate wherever possible the negative technogenic impacts of the Fuel-and-Energy Complex activity on the natural environment and population. This objective will be attained through active policy aimed at improvement of the primary energy efficiency and energy conservation;
  • reduce the production of environment contaminating agents in the industrial activity through implementation of advanced primary energy production (mining) transportation and usage of energy resources in every segment of the national Fuel-and-Energy Complex; to shut down the enterprises that do not comply with environmental safety standards; implement special preventive initiatives to protect sensitive natural environment; encourage environmentally conscious production processes based on integrated approaches to the matters of environmental protection and prudent use of natural reserves;
  • decrease the existing negative impacts on the environment through localization (trapping) emissions and discharges with their following neutralization, storage and disposal;
  • reduce or eliminate, wherever possible, the consequences of environmentally unsafe activity of the Fuel-and-Energy Complex with negative impacts made on the environment and local communities within the industrial areas or adjacent zones.

The above objectives will be attained under the following difficult conditions: the nation has inherited a backlog of technogenic problems built up in past times when environmental aspects of the development and operation of the Fuel-and-Energy Complex were neglected; the national environmental protection laws and regulations have been notably and actively improved in the last few years; however, specific mechanisms and practices to motivate the environmentally conscious performance [ecologization] of the Fuel-and-Energy Complex are still lacking; and the present difficult economic situation in the Fuel-and-Energy Complex gives next to no means to attract necessary investments that could help solve environmental problems in this economic sector in the short run (up to 10 years).

With consideration for the above situation, the Strategy of the Fuel-and-Energy Complex ecologization (environmental performance improvement) was designed based on: first of all, the concept of phased development and implementation of ecologization initiatives depending on their cost; and, second, on the principle of prioritizing actions to be fulfilled in every stage of the process, determined according to the environmental importance and the expected environmental and economic benefits of the actions.