Electricity network head says no danger of blackouts

Electricity network head says no danger of blackouts
Photo: DPA
The head of Germany’s electricity network agency Matthias Kurth accused energy companies of trying to create and exploit panic with talk of electricity blackouts in the event that nuclear power stations are shut down.

Kurth told Der Spiegel the debate over whether the lights across Germany will be kept on at all times was, “often superficial and interest-led.”

When asked whether the fear of blackouts was nonsense, he said, “It certainly has a justified basis. But the way in which the topic of security of supply is being discussed is often not helpful. We have only started to gather data on what effect the shut-down of eight nuclear power stations at the same time is having on electricity supply.”

Germany’s oldest nuclear power stations were closed down in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, while all such stations will now be subjected to safety checks.

Kurth said he could not simply sit back and say everything would be fine, admitting that never before in his experience had so much reliable electricity supply been removed from the network so quickly. But he said there was no danger of a blackout.

“Our checks show that the effect of the moratorium is manageable. Although responsible and prudent action is more necessary than ever,” he said.

He was asked whether the warnings from Johannes Teyssen and Jürgen Großmann, heads of electricity generators EON and RWE respectively, that the network could collapse, were responsible.

“I think that using the fear of a blackout is less than rewarding,” he said.

“Technically and also legally, there are many possible methods of directing and steering power stations in order to prevent a collapse of the network,” he said.

One possible problem could be the greater Hamburg region this summer, he admitted. He said the Krümmel and Brünsbuttel nuclear power stations have been shut down for repairs while the Unterweser nuclear power station has been closed by the moratorium.

The Brokdorf one is set to be closed for checks between June 11 and 30, which could endanger continuity of supply.

He said there were various options such as delaying the work slated for Brokdorf, or taking on supplies from other power stations for the region. It was necessary to work out an approach now, he said.

Other, longer term measures could include the re-firing of coal powered electricity stations to stabilise the network, which he admitted would not be ideal.

The Local/hc

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