(Reuters) – While Kyiv’s allies pledged more than $1 billion in aid on Tuesday, they also promised energy-efficient LED bulbs to ease power shortfalls and help Ukraine get through freezing winter months as Russia pounds the country’s infrastructure.
They made the pledge at a global meeting, hosted by France, to discuss what could be offered between now and March to maintain water, food, energy, health and transport during Ukraine’s typically frigid winter.
The European Commission said it would provide up to 30 million light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that 50 million such bulbs would significantly reduce the power shortfall in the country.
LED bulbs use on average 75% less energy than traditional bulbs and last up to 10 times longer.
“I hope that other partners will follow us,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the conference.
She added that energy savings from a full deployment of 50 million LED bulbs to Ukrainian homes would amount to one gigawatt of electricity, equivalent to the annual production of a nuclear power plant.
Russia has been pounding Ukraine’s energy infrastructure since October, destroying or damaging half of it.
Ukraine’s Economy Minister Yulia Svyridenko said a free programme for people to exchange LED bulbs will be introduced soon, ultimately helping to reduce power consumption by 7-10% at peak times.
“One hand, we are increasing energy production and distribution,” Svyridenko said in a statement. “And on the other hand, we are implementing energy efficiency measures that can help us survive the winter and reduce energy consumption.”