Much has been written about growing power grid instability in Europe as more and more volatile wind and solar energy have come online over the years.
Earlier today European news outlets reported how Brussels, a major centre of the European Union, plunged into darkness late yesterday evening.
So far it’s not known what’s behind the outage. The New York Post writes that the cause is a “mystery”, but according to the BBC here that “a spokesperson for Brussels’ power supplier, Sibelga, later told The Sun that the blackout was the result of an electric network distribution problem”.
City gripped by fear
It’s one thing if some rural area blacks out, but quite another when a center of political power like Brussels gets paralyzed and is left totally vulnerable. The UK Mirror wrote of a “security alert” after a “massive blackout” plunged the “entire centre of EU capital into darkness“, adding:
The loss of electricity across the Belgian capital has sparked terror attack fears, although the cause of the outage has not been confirmed.”
Brussels has been the target of terror attacks and is still considered a hotbed of potential terrorists. The Mirror writes that the blackout had Belgian security forces scrambling to boost their manpower at main sites around Brussels.
Volatile wind and sun wreak havoc on grid stability
Although it may turn out that the Brussels blackout problem had little to do with the haphazard supply from wind and solar energies, the outage once again highlights the European power grid’s growing instability the since greater amounts of the volatile energy have been getting fed in.
The following chart, for example, shows just how irregular the supply from wind and sun can be in Belgium’s neighbor, Germany:
German wind and solar power supply compared to German total demand over the past 15 days. Source: Agora.
The upper curve depicts Germany’s total consumption. Keeping the grid stable is becoming an increasingly formidable challenge, and the likelihood of overloads is ever higher. Blackouts like the one in Brussels, and the disruptions they cause, will likely become a part of Europe’s future.
There’s one positive aspect about the blackouts: they could serve to help a bit to alleviate one big problem in Europe. The OE24 here writes: “In the social media networks, jokes were made about a possible boost in the birthrate in 9 months.”
Strangely, Germany’s mainstream media is totally absent with the news of the blackout.