The power outages Kiev feared due its blockade of Donbass coal failed to materialize -- because the blockade also unexpectedly set back Ukraine's industrial production
No coal, no power – no problem. This could be the new motto of new Ukraine.
Months ago Ukraine declared an end to coal imports from Donbass utterly gutting its electricity generation – but avoided an electricity crisis, because the ban also wreaked havoc on its many steel makers.
You can't have a power crisis, if you don't have power consumers. Brilliant.
It all started this late January this year when Ukrainian right-wing nationalists took over railways coming out of rebel-held Donbass to stop shipments of coal Kiev was purchasing from rebel territories.
Rather than assert its authority, the government instead pleaded with the nationalists to please vacate the barricades, explaining that without the anthracite coal from the east its thermal power plants would have to shut down.
When the nationalists still wouldn't budge the authorities then...turned around and decreed the blockade the nationalists were already enforcing into law.
Kiev continued to warn, however, that without thermal power there would be severe electricity shortages, blackouts and all.
This has so far not been the case. There have been no power outages the government had feared.
So then it's time to bring out the champagne? Well, not quite. It turns out that while there have been no outages, the reason why is rather depressing.
As The Jamestown Foundation explains, this was down to an unusually warm February and March, nuclear plants ramping up their power production, and...reduced demand for power from Ukraine's industries.
What happened was that ban also affected Ukraine's industrial coal-burners, mostly its giant steel mills, which found themselves without enough coking coal to power their furnaces at full capacity. Unable to work normally the steel mills also naturally consumed less electric power.
It's rather glorious. Ukraine gutted its electricity production, but avoided feared power outages, because the move also hit major electricity consumers. No power, no problem.