Europe braces for power cuts this winter

  • With Russian gas imports significantly below normal and several nuclear reactors in France down for emergency maintenance, the EU is bracing for a tough winter.
  • According to a senior Brussels official, the European Commission is working on two different scenarios in which power outages occur.
  • The first scenario involves energy cooperation between EU states, while the second involves the Commission drawing on a strategic reserve.

Members of the European Union are preparing for the possibility of power shortages this winter due to the continued shortage of energy supplies.

That’s according to reports citing a senior Brussels official, who said the bloc was working on two scenarios that included blackouts, Reuters wrote today.

The first scenario sees a limited power outage in a small number of EU members, with the rest of the bloc stepping in to help with its own supplies.

The other scenario, which is much bleaker, sees the blackout spread to many EU members, rendering them unable to help each other. In this case, said Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic, the Commission will use its strategic reserve to help member states affected by the blackout.

The commissioner did not specify which strategic reserve the Commission would use in the event of a power outage.

The warning of possible power shortages comes just days after another report referred to the threat posed to wireless communications if power generation is insufficient in winter.

With Russian gas imports significantly below normal and several nuclear reactors in France down for emergency maintenance, much of Europe faces the risk of energy rationing or blackouts, which could make havoc on mobile communications, Reuters reported last week.

The danger comes from emergency power systems that are not as widespread as they should be in the event of a power outage or rationing. According to the report, there are half a million telecom antennas in the European Union, but most of their backup batteries only have half an hour’s storage capacity. According to unnamed sources who spoke to Reuters, the potential blackouts could last up to two hours.

The International Energy Agency said on Monday that Europe faced “unprecedented risks” from falling Russian gas imports, adding that Europe would compete with Asia for rare gas shipments this winter.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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