EnergyWatch

Hot Northern European summer puts unprecedented pressure on energy sector

German nuclear plants have had to shut down due to warm river water which cannot cool reactors. In Sweden and Norway, water shortages have led to record-low production from hydroelectric plants, and wind turbines in Denmark and England are generating less power than usual.

Photo: OLE LIND

Hot weather is making the Northern European energy sector sweat, not only because energy sector employees are obliged to wear warm work clothes or sit in hot offices. Unusually high summer temperatures and drought are affecting Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, which is now seriously impacting Northern European energy production, according to figures from a series of energy exchanges and systems operators in Northern Europe.

Heat in combination with drought has put unprecedented challenges on energy systems – challenges related to the fact that Northern Europe is the region in the world to have come furthest in installing renewables. Wind and hydroelectric comprise a massive portion of Northern European energy production, and those energy sources are particularly vulnerable to heat, drought and low wind speeds.

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