The court case of TIU Canada against the Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant (NFZ) for disconnection has gone to trial in the Kyiv Commercial Court. The 10.5 MW solar station was disconnected from the electricity grid by NFZ on March 2, 2020, despite the fact that under Ukrainian law, only electricity producers may authorise a disconnection from the electricity grid. TIU Canada is seeking an immediate reconnection to the electricity grid and plans to hold the NFZ and its shareholders fully accountable under the law. The main shareholders of the Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant are Igor Kolomoyskyi, Gennadiy Bogolyubov, and Viktor Pinchuk. The hearing is the first trial date in the case (910/3844/20) from the conclusion of preliminary hearings last month.
The Nikopol solar station owned by TIU Canada is on land leased long term from the city of Nikopol. The solar plant connects to a substation on the grounds of the NFZ. On December 23, 2019, TIU Canada received a letter from the General Director of the NFZ, that they would be disconnecting the TIU Canada connection to grids via the substation on the grounds of the NFZ in order to make “repairs”. The NFZ stated that they would begin the repairs after February 29, 2020, and TIU Canada immediately contacted the NFZ to seek solutions to avoid any disconnection. However, despite multiple discussions, the NFZ management and shareholders proceeded with disconnecting TIU Canada from the substation on the morning of March 2, 2020. This illegal disconnection has caused more than 1.5 million Euros of damage to TIU Canada already and increases daily.
The case is viewed as a test of the Zelensky’s administration’s commitment to protecting foreign investors. It should be noted that on July 3, 2019, while speaking to the Economic Club of Canada, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the work of TIU Canada at the Toronto Ukraine Reforms Conference. He says, “We think about the future, that is why green energy will be one of the key sectors of our economy during the upcoming years. I know that we have here Canadian company TIU that already successfully works in this area. We are grateful to them for this – please, follow their example.”
TIU Canada is owned by the Calgary based Refraction Asset Management, has been working in Ukraine since 2016, and is a leading solar energy producer. The company commissioned a 10 ½ megawatt solar energy plant in Nikopol, Ukraine, in January 2018, and an 11-MW solar station in the Mykolayiv region in April 2019. An additional 33 megawatts of solar electricity production have been commissioned in the Odesa region, for a total of 54 megawatts nationwide. TIU Canada has invested more than USD 65 million in Ukrainian solar energy over the last 4 years and was the first investor in Ukraine under the Canadian Ukrainian Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA).
TIU Canada directly and through its subcontractors employs more than 30 people in Ukraine whose jobs are now threatened by the disconnection.