Europe Is Preparing For Power Outages This Winter

European Union members are preparing for the possibility of power shortages this winter due to the continuing squeeze in energy supplies.

This is according to reports citing a senior Brussels official, who said that the bloc is working on two scenarios featuring 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 grimmer, sees the outage spreading across many EU members, rendering them unable to help each other. In this case, crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic said, the Commission will use its strategic reserve to help the member states affected by the blackout.

The commissioner did not specify what strategic reserve the Commission would use in case of a blackout.

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

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

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

The International Energy Agency said on Monday that Europe was facing “unprecedented risks” because of the drop in Russian gas imports, adding that Europe will be competing with Asia for scarce gas shipments this winter.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com