Kyiv’s Commercial Court has begun hearing a case that could be of interest to solar developers with a stake in Ukraine’s solar sector, or those looking to buy into the country’s energy market. For nearly a year the grid connection of a solar plant had been capped by an adjacent metal producer. The legal proceedings could prove a test for Ukraine’s suitality to provide sufficient investor protection, the plaintiff stated ahead of the trial.
The representatives of the French solar industry have already mobilized against the controversial measure and said they are studying all possible legal actions.
The cuts concern installations with capacities above 250 kW. The Ministry for the Ecological Transition said such projects account for just 0.3% of all contracts signed between 2006 and 2010. The targeted savings are between €300 million to €400 million. But Enerplan, the nation’s PV association, has described it as an “attempt by the government to force its way.”
Parliament has adopted Draft Law 3658 which can now be signed into law by the president. Payment reductions for solar have been further eased and curtailment will now be compensated but talk of extending the duration of the newly-reset FIT levels appears to have fallen by the wayside.
Ukrainian renewable energy lawyer Svitlana Teush takes a look at the law which will define the cuts to be applied in Ukraine after extensive negotiation between government and the clean energy industry.
They are words to chill the soul of solar project owners when uttered in relation to feed-in tariffs: retroactive FIT cuts. A Ukrainian government smarting at the cost of funding an overly successful solar incentive program appears bent on emulating the approach of governments in Spain, Italy and Czechia by reopening signed payment contracts to reset the monies paid for clean power, despite the costly lawsuits that have greeted such moves in the past.
The Ukrainian government’s conference rooms have been stuffier than usual lately, as policymakers and renewable energy industry representatives attempted to thrash out a compromise to reduce the financial burden left on the administration by a feed-in tariff incentive regime which drove almost 2 GW of generation capacity. The resulting retroactive cuts to payments, outlined below by Ukraine-based lawyer Svitlana Teush, have at least had input from both sides.
The government has suggested PV plant operators accept a ‘voluntary’ 12.5% reduction in feed-in tariffs. If developers refuse, policymakers could impose 15-25% cuts, albeit with payment contracts extended five years. The drastic measures are being considered to reduce the cost of the state-owned Guaranteed Buyer body, which purchases all electricity generated in Ukraine from renewable energy facilities.
Ukrainian energy market reforms are continuing and amid uncertainty about future auction mechanisms and prices, attendees at the SEF Kyiv sustainable energy forum again called out the government for dragging its heels on the legislation. However, there was also evident optimism at the show.