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24 Dec, 2021 10:49

Millions left without power amid European energy crunch

Millions left without power amid European energy crunch

The European energy crisis has deepened, with Kosovo introducing rolling two-hour power cuts for most of its nearly two million citizens.

The drastic measure, which comes amid one of the worst energy crises for Europe in recent history, came into effect on Thursday, according to a statement by Kosovo Energy Distribution Services (KEDS) seen by Bloomberg. After repeated calls for “maximum energy savings,” the distributor of electrical power said that Kosovo’s power system is “overloaded.”

Consumers should use electricity in the most rational way given “insufficient internal generation to cover consumption and the global energy crisis,” Kosovo’s grid manager said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the state power utility Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEK), said that the nation’s biggest coal-fired power plant had shut down both its units due to some technical issues. This stopped central heating in the capital Pristina and forced the country to import electricity at high prices.

The latest step came two weeks after Serbia had to cut electricity to some consumers. At the same time, Britain’s network operator issued its first supply warning of the winter. Last week, Electricite de France SA announced the urgent halting of reactors that account for 10% of French nuclear capacity. Meanwhile, Germany is due to shut down half of its nuclear power capacity before the end of 2021, increasing the strain placed on European grids due to the power crunch.

Commodities trader Trafigura Group has warned that the European region could face rolling blackouts in the event of a severe winter.

Last week, Kosovo’s economy minister, Artane Rizvanolli, told local media that a unit malfunction at the nation’s main coal-fired power plant had exacerbated the common electricity shortages occurring in winter. Local power production reportedly covers less than a third of consumption at the moment, requiring “extremely costly” imports.

Meanwhile, electricity imports from Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia declined from a peak above 750 megawatts on Wednesday to about 469 megawatts on Thursday, according to data revealed by grid association Entso-E.

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