Dutch and Turkish blackouts prompt EU stress tests

Brussels plans stress tests for the European Union’s power sector in 2016, prompted by energy blackouts in the Netherlands and Turkey in recent weeks.

The stress tests will closely resemble those being carried out for the bloc’s gas sector.

Turkey suffered a serious power transmission blackout that affected the entire country on Tuesday while Amsterdam and surrounding regions lost power for five hours last week.

On Tuesday, a major power outage hit Turkey, including the capital Ankara, and for Europe the issue was highlighted last week when the Amsterdam region suffered a blackout of more than five hours.
European Commission
"We would like to repeat the positive experience we had with the stress test for our gas supplies," said Maros Sefcovic, who is vice president of the European Commission and in charge of energy union in the 28-nation EU bloc.

The tests could look at various scenarios. For instance for last year's gas tests, they examined how a nation could cope if supplies were cut off for say one month, two months or even a year and what kind of contingency plans were in place.

"When it comes to power, the problem is not generation but how well we are connected, how we can transport energy around Europe, where the bottlenecks are," Sefcovic said.

The Commission's vision is for a single market in which energy flows across borders and price differences between countries disappear.

Apart from stress tests, plans include legislation on a new power market design and smarter grids to incorporate intermittent renewable energy.

The Commission has said around 400 billion euros is needed to upgrade grids and it hopes much of that will be private money, under a plan presented by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.


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