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Europe’s Energy Crisis Just Got Worse

On top of an ongoing natural gas crunch, Europe faces the winter season with reduced nuclear output in France, exacerbating the energy crisis and leaving large parts of the continent praying for a milder winter.

France’s EDF stopped on Thursday two nuclear power plants after finding a fault at one during routine maintenance. This brings the total number of nuclear plants out of operation currently at four, which account for 13 percent of the current power availability in France, a major electricity exporter to neighboring countries and to the UK.

Nuclear power generates most of France’s electricity. France gets more than 70 percent of its total electricity from nuclear power generation and is a major exporter of electricity, including to the UK.

The outage at the French nuclear plants comes just as temperatures in Europe started to fall and amid the ongoing natural gas crunch with gas in storage sites at the lowest levels in a decade.

Without part of the French electricity exports, some countries in northwest Europe could see their own power supply constrained.

If winter weather is colder than usual, this would mean no relief in the skyrocketing power prices and energy bills for consumers. This could also raise the possibility of rolling blackouts, Bloomberg notes

“Now it would only take 2-3 degrees Celsius below the seasonal normal to get into trouble,” Emeric de Vigan, CEO of energy analysis firm COR-e, told Bloomberg.

Following the French halt to some of its nuclear plants, European power prices surged to record on Thursday.

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The outages at the nuclear power plants in France come at the worst possible moment for Europe’s energy supply, considering that a cold winter could deplete its natural gas inventories and that the German network regulator which is reviewing the certification of the Russia-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline said on Thursday that it would not make a decision before July 2022.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on December 17 2021 said:
    "causes a massive recession."
    Turkey Hyperinflation.

    Russian economy collapsed in 2014.
    Only way forward is to create growth in the US economy as Japan has been doing since the 1970s or in theory sell into the US market directly which is obviously not easy because of this mess.

    Good article.
  • George Doolittle on December 17 2021 said:
    "causes a massive recession."
    Turkey Hyperinflation.

    Russian economy collapsed in 2014.
    Only way forward is to create growth in the US economy as Japan has been doing since the 1970s or in theory sell into the US market directly which is obviously not easy because of this mess.

    Good article.
  • Kurt Springmann on December 16 2021 said:
    The EU/Britain suffer from a self-inflicted head wound.
    While the long term future may not be much carbon, you MUST plan and execute the plan in order not to disrupt everything from life to your productive industries. Fertilizer from the EU -- heading to zero.

Leave a comment

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