The European Blackout Risk
By Paul Homewood
Roger Andrews has an interesting post today at Euan’s site:
At 2000 hours Central European Time on February 8, 2012 combined electricity demand in the UK, France and Germany peaked at a high of 231GW during a winter cold snap. This caused no serious problems at the time, but the UK, France and Germany could have a combined total of as little as 210GW of capacity on-line this winter, and if another 231GW demand peak coincides with 210GW of available capacity the alternatives will be either large-scale “demand side” management (i.e. paying lots of industries and businesses to shut down) or blackouts.
In this post we will look at how these conclusions were arrived at and also at some of the uncertainties that make it so hard to predict blackout risks. The chief uncertainties in this case are a) how cold might it get, b) will the wind be blowing when and if it does get cold, c) how much of the French nuclear fleet will be down for inspection at the time and d) how many French households will turn their electric heaters up to “high”, as many of them did in 2012.
The full post is here.
My personal view, like Roger’s is we will muddle through this winter, as there are still plenty of rabbits to pull from hats.
But what I really found striking was this table:
Bear in mind that these are installed and not de-rated capacities. In other words, they assume 100% capacity utilisation, hence Roger’s estimate that we might only have 210GW of capacity available.
But the real question is what will we all do when all three countries have eventually shut down coal and oil capacity?