Sunday, November 05, 2006
A power shortage in Germany triggered a cascade of blackouts across Europe, halting trains, trapping people in elevators and plunging millions of homes into darkness. But the situation appeared to be back to normal on most of the continent by Sunday.This is a sign that the grid is working at maximum capacity. A whole load of substations all trip out one after the other because each closure sends the next into overload. Any problem of "overdemand" is at least equally one of undersupply & in this case is because Germany isn't building the power supplies it needs because nuclear, the obvious one, isn't politically popular, & windmills don't work. That this is happening so early in the winter, in what is agreed to be a light winter, so far, is very troubling. With the UK about to lose the 20% of our power (35% in Scotland) can we be far behind?
The private German company, E.On AG, said the problem began in its network in northwestern Germany, possibly after it disconnected a high-power transmission line to allow a ship to pass safely on the Ems River. But it stressed the cause was still under investigation.
Swathes of Germany and France were badly hit by the cuts late Saturday. Austria, Belgium, Italy and Spain were also affected.
The German power company RWE AG said a shortfall in supplies to the European power grid caused many substations to shut down automatically.
And can we expect politicians to accept that it is purely because of their own gross irresponsibility when it does?