Severe heat destroys Europe’s overburdened power grid

Record high temperatures demand fuel as nuclear, hydro and coal power generation decline

Heatwaves in Europe are putting additional strain on the continent’s energy system, putting upward pressure on electricity prices and raising the risk of severe gas shortages this winter.

Record temperatures this summer have boosted demand for cooling energy and hit nuclear, hydro and coal-fired power generation at a time when Europe is seeking to cut its dependence on Russian gas.

“We were hoping the summer would bring some relief to the European energy market,” said Fabian Ronningen, an analyst at consultancy Rystad. “But this heat wave will exacerbate the crisis in the future, and it looks bad for winter. This is close to our worst-case scenario.”

Extremely high temperatures that have sparked dangerous wildfires in Spain, Portugal, France and elsewhere have been reported across the continent as the UK Met Office issued its first extreme heat 'red alert’.

Ethan Andrews

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