The EU could face a blackout this winter amid an energy crisis, an official said | Whuff News


Power shortages tied to the war in Ukraine could cause widespread blackouts in the European Union this winter, the bloc’s disaster management official has warned.

The European Union is gathering its resources as temperatures drop and preparing for two “conceivable scenarios”: one where a few member states experience power cuts, and one where blackouts occur in many member states at the same time, EU Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarcic told the RND German media.

In the first case, EU countries can step in to provide targeted aid – including emergency power generators – to affected countries. But in the event of widespread blackouts, the European Commission will be forced to draw on its own energy reserves, while individual countries will suspend emergency aid deliveries, Lenarcic added.

Europe’s response to Russia’s ‘power war’ as winter approaches

European officials insist that they are better prepared for what is coming than at the beginning of the war in Ukraine, and natural gas stores in the EU are about 90 percent of capacity – 15 percent higher than the same day last year. Still, more needs to be done to ensure that the bloc can respond quickly to “sudden interruptions” in energy supply, and to “better protect” important networks in the EU, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech to the European Parliament. on Wednesday.

Lenarcic’s comments on Europe’s preparedness come just before an unscheduled EU summit in the Czech Republic, where leaders will discuss how to protect infrastructure after an attack on the Nord Stream pipeline built to transport gas from Russia to Europe, as well as emergency regulatory measures. rising electricity prices.

“The acts of vandalism of the Nord Stream pipeline have shown how vulnerable our energy infrastructure is,” von der Leyen said. “It is in the interest of all Europeans to protect better [it].”

Member states will also continue to debate whether and how to cap gas prices.

The EU is urging a gas cap before it is ‘likely’ to be cut off by Russia

Although blackouts are common in many parts of the world where infrastructure can’t keep up with the surge in demand, they’re mostly outside wealthy European countries – and experts have sounded alarm bells about what power cuts could mean for consumers, including mobile networks. to delete.

Cities across Germany took measures this summer to conserve energy, including turning off lights at historic monuments and turning off public fountains. In France, retail giant LVMH said it would turn off the lights in its stores early at night starting in October, and Paris has started turning off the Eiffel Tower’s lights closer to midnight, instead of 1 am.

Experts say that some of these movements are symbolic – the nightly electricity consumption of the Eiffel Tower is equal to the annual electricity consumption of 56 French people, according to Radio France.

But some consequences could hit consumers harder: Last week, Reuters reported that some European telecom companies fear that this winter’s power cuts could trigger an exit from mobile networks. In September, France’s power grid operator said there would be periods in the next six months when it would have to ask customers to use less power – usually by 1 to 5 percent, but up to 15 percent in bad weather – to avoid congestion. the process.

Berlin’s landmarks darken as Germany races to conserve energy for winter

“The war with Russia is causing economic and social difficulties,” von der Leyen said on Wednesday. “Increasing energy prices … leads to a decrease in purchasing power and leads to a loss of competitiveness for our businesses in the international market.”

The war in Ukraine has caused a major upheaval in how the EU derives its power. More than a third of Europe’s electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas. Until recently, Russia was the bloc’s largest supplier of crude oil and gas. But Russia has sharply cut gas supplies to European countries in recent months in response to the bloc imposing sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, forcing the EU to look to other suppliers, build up its reserves and take steps to reduce consumption.

The EU now imports about 7.5 percent of its gas from Russia, down from 41 percent at the start of the war, von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

EU accuses Russia of ‘blackmail’ after gas cuts in Poland, Bulgaria

In Germany, the risk of a shortage of natural gas this winter has decreased due to gas storage, the Eurasia Group, a political risk research and consulting company, said in an article. However, it warned that “short, regional, and controlled blackouts (known as blackouts)” “are emerging as an increasing risk, especially in the southern regions of the country.”

Load shedding, the group noted, is less dangerous to the economy “than an uncontrollable blackout or gas emergency, as early notice allows industry and households to prepare for temporary and domestic blackouts.”

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