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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.