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Outage At Oil-fired Plant In Sweden Adds To Power Supply Issues

An oil-fired power plant in southern Sweden owned by German energy giant Uniper suffered a failure early on Thursday when a boiler tripped, adding to supply issues in the country where nuclear and wind power generation was lower than usual.

The Karlshamn plant experienced the failure for just over an hour on Thursday morning in Sweden, according to a notice on the power exchange Nord Pool. The plant is now back online, but the outage highlights the vulnerability of Europe’s power generation when other sources are also in tight supply.

Karlshamnsverket is an oil-fired peak and reserve power plant located in southern Sweden, which requires more capacity than other parts of the country, its operator Uniper says.

On Tuesday, Uniper told Reuters it had been running the oil-fired peak- and reserve plant for a week due to very high prices on the Nord Pool electricity market. Since August 8, one of the plant’s two blocks has been running every day but one, Karlshamnsverket spokesperson Bjorn Magnusson told Reuters.

Power prices in the Nordic countries are skyrocketing due to low hydro and nuclear power generation.

Sweden, one of the EU members with the greenest electricity mix in the bloc—with hydroelectric, nuclear, and wind power dominant—restarted the Karlshamn fuel oil power plant last autumn when the energy crisis in Europe began.

Nearly a year later, the crisis has worsened so much that governments are calling for energy conservation and are considering rationing this winter.

Europe’s power prices are breaking records. Nuclear output is lower because of hot river waters, and hydropower reservoirs are at low water levels too because of the drought and heatwaves this summer. This is not even counting the drastically reduced Russian gas pipeline supply to Germany and the run on LNG among EU buyers. On top of that, the supply of coal and petroleum on the Rhine River—a key European waterway for barge transportation—is being disrupted by low water levels.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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