Europe sees heavy strain on electric distribution system through harsh winter

With spring finally coming to Europe, the European Union's electric power transmission and distribution authority recently released a review of the region's response to the unusually harsh winter.

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, or ENTSO-E, noted that this past winter saw the lowest temperatures and highest levels of snowfall for decades throughout many parts of the European Union.

The harsh conditions led to a dramatic spike in electricity demand while simultaneously causing problems for fuel shipments to power plants. Many natural gas-fired power plants saw supply interruptions at various points.

Because of the poor weather conditions, renewable energy sources like wind and solar power substantially underperformed, and Germany's decision to shutter its nuclear power generation capacity further limited energy production.

Despite these strong pressures on the grid, ENTSO-E notes that the electric power distribution system actually performed with reasonable consistency through a combination of constant oversight of the region's generating capacity, extensive imports and several mechanisms for reducing demand. While the region activated many agreements allowing it to cut service when necessary, some countries also issued public calls for lower energy usage.

Information on the European power market can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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