Crimea Without Electricity: What Happens Next?

Crimea’s main problem: It does not have a land bridge to the Russian mainland.

At exactly 25 minutes past midnight on Sunday 22 November, every single light bulb on the Crimean peninsula went out simultaneously.  “And so it begins,” some people murmured, as they went to fish out their candles and flashlights.

The total blackout lasted approximately 6 hours.  After which some reserve power sources kicked in.

Government officials in Crimea  immediately declared a state of emergency, which will continue indefinitely, until full power is restored.  According to Mikhail Sheremet, Deputy P.M. of Crimea, reserve stations have enough fuel to last 30 days. In the meantime, officials have instituted a system of rolling blackouts. The intention is that an ordinary citizen in, say, Sebastopol, will not have to go without power for more than 9 hours at a stretch.

Root Cause Analysis

The crisis was caused by deliberate acts of sabotage, directed at civilian infrastructure in a neighboring country, which the saboteurs claim as their own territory.  On Friday, these so-called “activists” from the neo-Nazi Right Sektor and an allied Tatar group which calls itself “Civil Blockade of Crimea”, began to attack the pylons which supply most of the electricity to the Crimean peninusula.  The pylons are located on the other side of the border, in Kherson Oblast, the Ukrainian region which borders Crimea from the North.  After damaging the pylons, at first ineptly, and then with increasing success, the “activists” continued to clash with Ukrainian police and engineers who had arrived in a futile attempt to restore order and repair the damage.

Pylons

Ukrainian vandals celebrate after ruining the pylons.

The crisis escalated during the night from Saturday to Sunday, November 21-22.  The saboteurs blew up first two, and then all four pylons which supply electricity to the peninsula. Leaving 1.6 million of the 2 million Crimean residents literally in the dark.

According to Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn, two districts of Kherson Oblast, Ukraine were also left without power.  Collateral damage.

Kherson Province At Risk Too

The power outages in Kherson  have led to an undersupply of wattages to two nuclear power stations (Zaporozhskaya and YuzhnoUkrainskaya), according to Yuriy Kasich, Director of the UkrEnergo Company.  This undersupply necessitated cutting off two blocks at the electrical-heating stations – in Dnipropetrovskaya and Uglegorskaya.  [yalensis:  This is technical talk, and I am not sure what it means, however Kasich stressed, during his interview on 112-Ukraine TV that this situation involving the nuclear power stations is VERY DANGEROUS.]  According to Kasich, the “accident” threatens blackout for 50 territories within the Kherson and Nikoaevkaya oblasts.  He is confident, however, that the damage can be repaired within 3 or 4 days, PROVIDED his repair teams are allowed access to the site of the damage.

Vandals are guarding the damaged pylons. Oops – wrong vandals!

Ah, but there’s the rub!  The armed saboteurs themselves are guarding the sites, and will not let police or repair crews approach.  According to the first VZGLIAD piece I linked, none other than Chechen “Field Commander” Adam Osmaev is among the fully-armed “activists” guarding the damaged pylons against well-meaning repair crews.  Osmaev, his wife Amina Okueva, Kazbek Jurduk, and other former “Chechen fighters”, who once fought for the Caliphate in Chechnya, are now fighting for the “rights” of Crimean Tatars against the Russian “occupiers”.  By doing what these types always do:  Blowing shit up.

Meanwhile, back in Crimea….

Meanwhile, back in Crimea, the blackouts have already affected transportation:

For example, in Sebastopol the famous trolleys no longer run.

In Sebastopol, the trolleys rely on electrical power.

In New Orleans, the Streetcars rely on the kindness of the neighbors. Not an option for Crimeans, unfortunately.

 

 

Energy Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergei Egorov, cites the following numbers:

Numbers and Facts

All of Crimea, including Sebastopol, normally consume, at the morning peak hours, 800 Megawatts.  Current consumption, under these emergency conditions, is only 350 Megawatts.

Evening peak hours, the consumption is slightly higher.  Fortunately, Mother Nature has been merciful recently, in that the weather has remained warm.

Crimea has some alternate sources of energy (solar and wind, for example, and also some mobile gas-turbine stations).  On a normal day, Crimea can supply itself with 30% of its own needs.  For the other 70%, it needs the supply of juice to come from the Ukrainian mainland.  However, in these emergency conditions, scraping together everything that it has, Crimea should be able to provide 70-80% of its own needs, according to Egorov.

Generator

Thank you God for giving us Diesel Generators!

The long term solution to the problem is to finish building the “Energy Bridge” between the Russian Mainland (Kuban) and Crimea.  However, according to the schedule, it will not be finished until 2020.  Crimeans obviously cannot wait that long to resume normal life.

What Is To Be Done?

Well, aside from building the Energy Bridge, there are other more immediate projects on the table.

Cable

Chinese are laying cable, even as we speak.

According to Ukrainian blogger “pauluskp” Chinese companies are, even as we speak, laying cable along the bottom of the Black Sea.  This project will not take nearly as much time as building the Kerchensky Bridge and/or Tunnel.  In fact, given the pace at which Chinese workers go, it could be completed as early as December!

ЩЕ не вмерла…

At which point, Crimea will not only be free from its dependence on Ukrainian electricity; but Ukraine might even have to start buying electricity from Crimea.  Blogger concludes that, by harming the energy market in Kherson, effectively a competitor to the Russian energy market, the saboteurs in essence scored another “own goal” against Ukraine.  The country they profess to adore.

 

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8 Responses to Crimea Without Electricity: What Happens Next?

  1. marknesop says:

    If only all enemies were so stupid and dysfunctional. I look forward to the day the Tatar organization in Crimea disowns that sawed-off manky little runt Mustafa and he is not allowed in, so that he has to live in Kherson or even deeper inside Ukraine.

    I noticed an excited loudmouth on the Twitter feed about “pathetic Germany” interfering in “Ukraine’s sovereign matters”, who blatted that Crimea’s electricity is Russia’s responsibility in accordance with the Geneva Conventions! What the hell is he talking about? The country that assumes custody over an entity which legally requests to join it is responsible for laying new power lines across the territory of a neighbouring country which is hostile to it and has barred its entry?

    Yeah; Steve Komarnyckyj , who apparently is “a poet and literary translator specialising in Ukrainian. He runs Kalyna Language Press with his partner Susie. ”

    https://mobile.twitter.com/RutheniaRus/status/668800804996915201

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      I don’t think the Geneva Convention says that at all – he’s just making shit up!

      Like

    • Jen says:

      Komarnyckyj can’t surely believe that Crimea is Russia’s responsibility, that would be like admitting that Crimea legally joined Russia instead of being invaded and annexed!

      Like

      • yalensis says:

        Well, I think under Geneva Convention, if you invade and occupy somebody, then that population is now your responsibility. Like Indians under British rule, etc.
        Where he stretches is by saying that it follows from above, that it’s totally okay to destroy occupied’s civilian infrastructure and not bear any responsibility!

        Like

  2. spartacus says:

    Hey yalensis! Totally off-topic, I would like to ask for your help, if it’s not to much trouble… as you know, on 21st of November was the 2nd “anniversary” of the Maidan coup. So, with that in mind, I’m trying to piece together a post for my Romanian blog that tells the story of the way the US, in collusion with oligarchs and far-right groups, managed to forcefully remove Yanukhovich and his government from power, triggering the loss of Crimea and the ongoing civil war. While I was writing the post, I realized that I have some problems with a couple of pieces of the puzzle. For example, after the signing of the February 2014 agreement, it appears that the Berkut forces simply picked up their stuff and fled Kiev, as if someone had just tipped them off that Yanukhovich was going to be removed anyway. I managed to find some articles covering this subject, but I am left with more questions than answers. Were they ordered to leave? By whom? What caused the retreat of such large number of well trained fighters? Were the Pravy Sektor and Svoboda dudes such a threat for them? So I was wondering if, maybe, you have some more info on this subject. Thanks!

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Hey, Spartacus, great to hear from you again, I missed you!
      I hope everything is going okay over there in Romania.
      As for Berkut fleeing, I don’t know much about that. I guess they felt that the gig was up, because Yanuk was not going to stay and fight. So, things were collapsing, and all of their lives were in danger. Plus, Russia offered a lot of them sanctuary.
      I’ll do some research as best I can; see if there are some links on Russian blogs; and maybe throw it out there to the readers, if anybody knows any links or anything (?)

      Like

      • spartacus says:

        Thanks yalensis! Very nice of you to say that. Well, everything is swell in Dracula Land, a couple of weeks ago we just had some rather large protests and a change of government. Nothing fancy, really…

        I think I found out the answer I was looking for. Apparently, the signing by Yanukhovich of the February agreement was perceived as a weakness by his political backers and, understanding that the game is up, they dumped him. Meanwhile, the Pravy Sektor and the other Nazi groups managed to get their hands on a significant number of weapons that were stolen from various locations in Western Ukraine. After they armed themselves they presented the Berkut people with a choice, something like give up and leave Kiev or stay and fight and risk being imprisoned and/or killed. With the Interior Ministry’s leadership gone, they just did what they had to in order to save their skin and live to fight another day. This Sputnik piece makes it look that they were more defiant but, basically, I think it supports my theory, especially when you connect it with the NYT article that I linked in my previous post.

        Like

        • yalensis says:

          Hey, Spartacus, oi veh, I have been out of touch with the larger world! I didn’t even know there was a change of government in Romania. I better read some more about that, and get myself up to speed.

          As for Berkut, yeah, your narrative sounds like what I was reading, and inferring, at the time. If Yanuk and the government had stood firm, they could have crushed the insurgents. As it was, well you know what the situation is in Ukraine, if you want to take power, then you merely have to get X number of oligarchs on your side. The main oligarchs who used to back Yanuk flipped, and he had no real support after that. He lost his will to fight, and what’s the point of fighting for a leader who won’t fight for himself? Berkut made the right choice. They saved their own skins as best they could. Some fled to Russia, others went underground. Like your ancient ancestors used to say:

          “Qui tecum vivit et alteri bello fugit pugnat”, or something like that…

          He who fights and runs away,
          Lives to fight another day.

          Like

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