8 January 2021: Europe just skirted blackout disaster 

Posted: January 18, 2021 by oldbrew in Critique, Energy, News
Tags: , , ,

‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ – German proverb [image credit: evwind.es]

European leaders are too fond of their so-called climate policies to take much notice of practicalities like engineering limitations. The fragility of the power supply can only get worse under existing policies, if these warning signals are ignored.
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On 8 January 2021, the European electricity grid only just missed a large-scale collapse, says The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

Around 13:04 p.m. there was a sharp drop in frequency that could have paralysed Europe. The cause was apparently a power failure in Romania.

According to the Austrian blackout expert Herbert Saurugg, it was the second most serious major incident in the European network to date.

According to the ENTSO-E classification, the third of four warning levels was achieved (Emergency – Deteriorated situation, including a network split at a large scale. Higher risk for neighboring systems. Security principles are not fulfilled. Global security is endangered).

The Lower Austrian electricity supplier EVN spoke of an “almost blackout”. Some major customers had contacted them, “because sensitive machines have already felt the frequency drop,” said EVN spokesman Stefan Zach to the Austrian broadcasting company ORF. “If the fluctuations are too high, machines switch themselves off to protect themselves.” According to Zach, this can also happen at power plants, “and then it becomes critical”.

The event is discussed intensively in the Austrian media. Numerous power plants had to immediately supply additional energy to stabilise the grid.

Pumped storage power plants and the gas-fired power plants still available had to be mobilised. “The latter, however, are massively fought against by environmentalists,” noted the Kronen Zeitung pointedly.

In France, despite the rescue operation from Austria, large electricity customers had to be disconnected from the grid.

The safety net worked, “but such fire-fighting operations are not a viable long-term business model,” warned Wien Energie managing director Michael Strebl.

“Thank God it went well again,” said Werner Hengst, Managing Director of Netz Niederösterreich GmbH. “We estimate that the situation will get worse in the next few years.”

The reason is the strong expansion of volatile renewable electricity generation and the elimination of large backup power plants in Europe.

The output of 50 gigawatts going offline in Europe corresponds to “more than two hundred Danube power plants”. According to Wien Energie, the electricity grids are exposed to ever greater fluctuations.

The number of emergency operations has increased from around 15 to up to 240 per year in recent years.

Continued here.

  1. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Greentard ‘planning’….

  2. oldbrew says:

    Pandemic closes ski slopes amid a perfect winter

    After many years without much snow, this German winter has been a white-powdered wonderland for cold-weather sports. But amid a hard lockdown, few can enjoy it.

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    Countries with unreliable power may start to regret it soon if colder winters make a comeback.

  3. Phil Salmon says:

    Meanwhile the Russians already have nuclear lighthouses.
    Does nuclear shine a light on the limits of democracy itself?


  4. ivan says:

    Ah, that explains two things, why my uninterruptible power supply units went bonkers that afternoon. At least they did their job of keeping the computer equipment running, I should be thankful it didn’t last long-enough to start the backup generator (no silencer at the moment).

    The other thing it looks as if it is an explanation for is the big push here to get the ‘linky’ (smart metres) into as many places as possible – rolling blackouts anyone? You would think France with its fleet of nuclear generators would be looking at replacing them when they reach end of life, but no, someone wants to go all ‘green’ and use wind for power.

  5. Phoenix44 says:

    And the large costs of these events is factored into Net Zero?