(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s biggest private energy company, DTEK, is racing against the clock to restore electrical-grid equipment destroyed by Russia’s invasion as replacement parts run low ahead of winter. 

Over the last two months, at least 18 Russian military strikes have hit facilities including generators, transmission lines, substations and transformers, according to Chief Executive Officer Maxim Timchenko. DTEK is now asking suppliers to mark its orders as top priority.

“We have to survive 122 days,” Timchenko said in an interview with Bloomberg TV, referencing the time until spring weather arrives. “I have full confidence that we can survive this winter. We are getting more and more equipment coming from abroad.”

With war raging throughout the country, Ukraine is facing the harshest winter in its modern history. Russian missile attacks damaged 35% of key power grid facilities in recent months, according to the Ukrainian government, and utilities have struggled to restore electricity following each wave of strikes. 

For most citizens, electricity is available for just a few hours a day, and heating and water supplies are often interrupted after power blackouts. 

DTEK, which accounts for more than a quarter of Ukraine’s power generation, has deployed rescue teams and engineers to help keep the lights on, often at great peril. In the last two months, three of its workers were killed and 24 injured during Russian strikes, according to the company’s website. 

Those efforts are just enough to make the grid functional and provide enough energy “to survive,” Timchenko said. To restore the system’s reliability, Ukraine needs billions of dollars in investment.

Renewable Investment

“We expect that these funds will come from our partners, from international financial institutions, from national governments and from private investors,” he added. “That’s why it’s very important to develop this mechanism of accumulating these funds. I’m talking about military risk insurance, I’m talking about attractive projects like renewables.”

The company sees wind and solar farms as a way to help secure Ukraine’s power grid because they offer a wider distribution for generation. By contrast, large power stations are more vulnerable because they can be easily disconnected by air strikes, affecting millions of consumers. 

Ukraine already has significant wind and solar potential. DTEK is building wind park that can be expanded to a capacity of more than 500 megawatts to allow for more flexible electricity supplies. It’s also seeking to attract investment for wind and solar plants, with an eye toward exporting the energy to Europe.

--With assistance from Aliaksandr Kudrytski and Olesia Safronova.

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