HSE & Sustainability

Wind Farm Opens in Ukraine Amid War

Energy company DTEK plans a second phase to build back greener after Russian invasion.

Source: Oleksandr Grechko

The world’s only wind farm being built in a major conflict zone has been officially opened by DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private energy company.

Phase I of the Tyligulska Wind Power Plant (WPP), which lies just 60 miles from the frontline in the southern region of Mykolaiv, is already generating green power. The plant’s 19 turbines have an installed capacity of 114 MW, generating up to 390,000 kWh, enough to power 200,000 households a year.

The decision to build Tyligulska WPP was taken in 2020 as part of DTEK’s strategy to expand its renewables portfolio. The project will eventually boost DTEK’s green energy capacity from 1 to 1.5 GW.

DTEK has invested $200 million in the construction of this first phase. The project is one of the first to deploy 6 MW Enventus turbines from Danish manufacturer Vestas.

Phase II plans call for adding up to 64 turbines to raise the potential output to 500 MW. That will make Tyligulska the largest WPP in Eastern Europe, providing secure energy for homes and businesses in the south of Ukraine.

DTEK plans to expand Tyligulska as part of the company’s broader strategy to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 and help Ukraine become a clean energy exporter to the European Union. Those plans remain dependent on DTEK securing an additional $450 million in funding, both from foreign investors and from state-backed international financial institutions.

Ground was broken in late 2021, and the first wind turbine was erected in December 2021. DTEK halted construction with six turbines installed, however, after Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, when enemy forces advanced on Mykovaiv and foreign partners were forced to evacuate staff and equipment.

“The Tyligulska wind farm is a symbol of Ukraine’s resistance to Russian attempts to freeze Ukraine into submission,” said DTEK CEO Maxim Timchenko. “With projects like Tyligulska, we can build Ukraine back greener and cleaner and become a key partner in Europe’s energy future. And, by developing an infrastructure based on distributed rather centralized generation, we are creating an energy supply that is more resilient and stable.”

By summer 2022, and with financial support from DTEK shareholder Rinat Akhmetov, work resumed with an all-Ukrainian crew of 650 people at its peak. Staff worked in bulletproof vests and spent more than 300 hours in bomb shelters from August 2022 until April 2023, under the constant threat of missile strikes.

In one and a half years, the team installed 114 MW of generating capacity at twice the usual speed for a project of this scale.