Dniprovska HPP2 badly damaged in latest Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure

Extensive Russian drone and rocket attacks took place on 22 March in the Ukrainian regions of Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Kryvyi Rih, primarily aimed at energy infrastructure, and described by Ukraine’s Energy Minister as the largest scale attack on the country’s energy sector to date. Major damage was sustained by the largest hydropower facility, the Dnipro complex, which comprises two power stations, HPP1 and HPP2.

Eight rockets hit the complex, two of which destroyed part of the road across the crest of the 60 m-high 760 m-long Dnipro concrete gravity dam. Also destroyed were the beams beneath the cranes used to manoeuvre the gates, which caused the gates to lift, releasing water. A trolley bus on the crest was destroyed in the fire, and the driver was killed.

The dam itself withstood the attack and was not damaged.

Six rockets, and the fire which followed the strikes, caused the most extensive damage to HPP2, where ceilings and walls were either destroyed or badly damaged. It was reported by Ukrhydroenergo in the days following the attack that the damaged infrastructure in danger of collapsing was being progressively dismantled, and rubble cleared; it was expected (on 25 March) that it would take another seven to ten days to reach the lower floors (35 m below ground level) to assess damage to the generating units in detail. Inspections from the surface meanwhile indicate that there were direct hits on some generating units, which will need to be completely replaced, and other parts of the powerhouse have been destroyed or badly damaged by the fire.

At the beginning of 2022, the capacity of the Dnipro complex was 1578 MW, when 10 Francis turbines were in operation at Dniprovska HPP1, and eight (six Kaplan and two propeller) units at Dniprovska HPP2. The combined output before the war was 4 TWh/year.