German Agency For Disaster Preparedness Calls On Citizens To “Be Ready For Widespread Blackouts”

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The President of the German Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe (Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, abbreviated BKK) is calling on citizens, government offices and companies to be prepared for widespread blackouts.

In an interview with German national daily Die Welt, BBK President Christoph Unger warned that in the future Germany faced higher probabilities of natural disasters arising from climate change, such as droughts, heat waves and flooding, but said his greatest concern was a power outage.

“After 24 hours without electricity we would have catastrophic conditions,” Unger told Die Welt.

He was particularly concerned about how the power supply could be switched off by a cyber attack. “We have to prepare ourselves for such a scenario and prepare ourselves for it”.

Unstable grid, more frequent interventions

He then told Die Welt that although the German power supply is relatively stable and secure in a global comparison, “the German Federal Grid Agency is having to intervene more and more frequently in order to compensate for grid fluctuations.”

Over the years Germany has added more and more volatile supplies of wind and solar power to feed into its power grid. This has made keeping the frequency within the needed range an increasingly difficult challenge.

“Faced multiple collapses”

For example, the German DWN here reported how in June earlier this year “Europe’s electricity grid faced multiple collapses” and how grid frequency in Germany had “plummeted several times to such an extent that Europe’s entire power grid had been endangered.” Some aluminum mills had to be taken offline.

Keep candles and matches on hand

To prepare for blackouts, Unger told Die Welt that citizens needed to keep “candles and matches” and always have a “batter-powered radio on hand in order to be able to receive news even when the power is out.” He added: “Every household should have a supply of food and drinking water.”

Diesel backup generators to the rescue

Ironically Unger told Die Welt that government offices and companies to ask themselves: “Is there enough diesel fuel on hand to power an emergency back-up generator? Where will the diesel come from when the electricity has not yet returned after two days but the back-up generators have to continue running and diesel can only be pumped from the tank farms with electric pumps?”

Is this the future of the European power supply? Citizens using matches, candles and battery-powered radios to getb through power blackouts and companies and government offices relying on emergency backup diesel generators? Sounds like the 1950s.

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29 responses to “German Agency For Disaster Preparedness Calls On Citizens To “Be Ready For Widespread Blackouts””

  1. Shoki Kaneda

    Unless Macron has his way with nuclear power, Germany will be at the mercy of the French. How are the mighty fallen!

  2. Henk

    My best advice would be to have some of the gear that is available for hikers, using sattellite SMS messaging. Then you can send and receive messages, regardless of the local sitation. I Have a Garmin device, just for this purpose. For local commnications, I have a set of the Boafeng portophones, which can be used as a relay to extend its range up to 10 km. It is always better to be able to listen AND send. Do not rely on public services, in case of a black-out, they will all go down swiftly. We are not properly prepared.

  3. John F. Hultquist

    <. . . keep “candles and matches”

    What? Are these to torch the offices of the leaders that brought this mess on? Lots of candles and matches tend to bring about home/apartment fires.

    Very old school, that guy.
    I go for LED lights with batteries and a solar power recharger.

  4. Yonason

    I’m wondering when they will blame the power outages on global irreversible runaway tipping point climate warming disruption breakdown sky-is-falling catastrophe apocalypse change.

    Maybe Gretta can help us, after all? //s//
    https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/07/24/greta3/

    H/T – https://cliscep.com/2019/07/26/thunberg-and-the-french-philosopher/#comment-40592

  5. Dizzyringo

    Not much fun having one of the highest electricity charges in the world and having blackouts. Not really value for money!!

    1. Yonason

      Doesn’t make any sense, until you realize that it’s by design.

      This is the biggest wealth transfer scam in the world. Take from the little guy and give to the wealthy.
      http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/how-green-energy-subsidies-transfer-wealth-to-the-rich/

      What could go wrong!

    2. SebastianH

      I haven’t heard of any power outtages in Germany in recent times. As far as I know our outtages get measured in seconds, the U.S. measures them in hours. Good value, I guess.

      1. Josh

        Germany has avoided major outages so far…but has come close on multiple occasions. The situation might be very different if Germany wasn’t connected to the grids of 9 other countries. It also might be different if the power grid hadn’t been over-engineered in the first place.

        1. Sebastianh

          Not really close. That’s all happening in the minds of fearmongering blackout alarmists who desperately like to see this happen. It even goes so far that some skeptics blame wind turbines for not providing enough electricity when a damaged substation/transformer causes a city block to be without power for a while 🙂

          The situation seems to be very different in the US indeed. With hour long blackouts and home-battery owners boasting how they can still wash their laundry. France also has more outtages than Germany with their supposedly stable nuclear powered grid. How is that possible?

        2. Yonason

          Germany doesn’t have a stand-alone power grid.
          https://www.tdworld.com/generation-and-renewables/myth-german-renewable-energy-miracle

          Is the German Grid Superior?

          The short answer is no. Germany does not have an independent standalone high voltage grid (transmission system) but rather is part of the European interconnected grid. In evaluating reliability impacts associated with penetration levels of renewables, the focus should be on overall grid comparisons. It is not appropriate to expect to achieve grid-wide that which can only be achieved within a “dependent” subset of the grid. The German portion of the grid is supported by extensive hydroelectric resources in Denmark and coal resources in Poland. The interconnected grid as a whole does not have anywhere the same level of renewable penetration as is found in the German portion. The 2016 statistics show that 75% of the generation within the European interconnected grid in 2016 was conventional thermal and nuclear. Renewables in the entire European interconnected grid were 12% hydroelectric, 10% wind, and 4% other. [5] Thus, Germany relies on (or “leans on”) the conventional rotating machinery in neighboring counties in order to ensure continuous, reliable operation.

          I’ve posted that for the troll before, but he either doesn’t read what we write, or he has a lousy memory. Whatever the reason for his cluelessness, he’s sure to post about this again, without correcting the same careless and/or deliberate errors he always makes.

          Also, the reason American’s have multiple hour long outages often have nothing whatever to do with grid stability.
          https://www.tdworld.com/electric-utility-operations/twisters-crumple-towers-snap-poles-ohio

          1. Yonason

            UPDATE

            https://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1485530/german-redispatch-costs-hit-record-high

            Even if the German portion of the European grid doesn’t collapse, stabilizing it will require massive effort and expense above and beyond what it would have if no “ruinable” energy had been added to the mix.

            Bottom line – waste and inefficiency is NOT the way to a better future, no matter how violently greenies yell and scream for it.

  6. Dave Ward

    Have a read of this (PDF) account about Lancaster, in the UK suffering a major blackout:

    https://www.raeng.org.uk/publications/reports/living-without-electricity

    Worth noting that the local buses were able to continue running, thanks to a hand pumped diesel supply at the depot! Also that the backup generators which eventually helped out were roaded in from all over the country – not something which would happen if the power cuts were much more widespread…

  7. tom0mason

    Benny Peiser says it all in his latest video about Europe’s incredible shrinking economies.

    https://youtu.be/wfmeXMVOdKs

  8. David Holland

    If you have or are thinking of having a ‘smart’ meter you should understand that it can be remotely accessed. The Landis Gyr that I have has an internal isolator and can be set up to limit the “maximum demand” at certain times. As with routers and PCs, potentially smart meters can be hacked as were many routers a couple of years ago. It could take a very long time to get them all reset.

    See also:
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/579774/291116_-_Smart_meters__Demand_Side_Response_leaflet_-_DR_-_FINAL.PDF

  9. Josh

    This is disturbing, but perhaps not surprising. Yet most Germans are either blissfully unaware or are not worried and see these issues as minor details.

  10. SebastianH

    Is this the future of the European power supply? Citizens using matches, candles and battery-powered radios to getb through power blackouts and companies and government offices relying on emergency backup diesel generators? Sounds like the 1950s.

    Nope, that is the imaginatorium of derailed science contrarian bloggers.

    Maybe your unique perception of grid instabilities can help me decipher this chart/graph:
    https://www.netzfrequenz.info/auswertungen/langzeitverlauf-der-netzfrequenz-06-2011-05-2018.html/attachment/cp_201106-201805_leg

    What are the biggest sources for frequency variations that we can see there?! Notice any pattern?

    1. Josh

      Welcome back super troll. I see that you are still in denial 🙂

    2. tom0mason

      Yes SebastianH,

      Germany just needs to tear down a few more hundred square kilometers of forests and turn them into industrial sites where the ugly windmills can slaughter more birds and bats.
      That should sure-up the shaky German national grid, while as a bonus selling any excess electricity to the neighboring countries at a discounted rate.
      Yes SebastianH good plan!

      1. Kenneth Richard

        “Germany just needs to tear down a few more hundred square kilometers of forests”

        Or perhaps the Germany can tear down more centuries-old villages (dating to Medieval times) to clear the way to mine for the brown coal underneath them. That way they can meet their 2020 emissions goals.

        https://www.npr.org/2018/08/06/635911260/germany-turns-to-brown-coal-to-fill-its-energy-gap
        Centuries-old villages across the country are being bulldozed to make way to mine brown coal — one of the filthiest and cheapest fossil fuels. As the world’s biggest brown coal miner, Germany is at risk of missing its 2020 carbon emissions targets.

        The latest rural idyll threatened with destruction is the medieval village of Pödelwitz, in the eastern state of Saxony.”

        1. tom0mason

          Yes Kenneth R,
          Makes me wonder, as very good quality Australian, Indonesian, Colombian, South African coal is available, or even relatively good Russian, Czech, or Polish coal — any of which can be bought quite cheaply these days.

          I suppose it’s more cost effective to rip out an historical site, a site of German heritage and ancestry.

  11. Yonason

    Brits, too…
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/09/europe/uk-power-outage-gbr-intl/index.html
    “…believed to be because of a failure to National Grid’s network.”

    You know, that thing SebH says can’t happen.

    I know, let’s eliminate all fossil fuel backup, and build lots more turbines and install tons more solar panels. That’ll fix it, for sure!

    1. SebastianH

      What do you think caused the power outage in UK? Do we suddenly blame grid failures on wind turbines and solar panels? Are you one of those skeptics?

      1. M

        Asynchronous supply of power causes frequency instability. Without battery buffering systems, wind and solar are asynchronous by default. Also, lack of demand matching causes frequency instability. Germany has taken their secure supply too low to maintain grid frequency. That secure supply was coal, ccgt, and nuclear. Large portions of those sources were taken out of service dropping the german system to a level with an insufficient buffer of secure supply. Harald Schwarzhttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11708-019-0641-z

        Also see his commentary on his report commissioned by the Brandenburg Ministry of Economic Affairs on the technical aspects of a secure power supplyhttps://www.pro-lausitz.de/index.php/News-leser_o/items/wir-muessen-die-energiewende-vom-grundsatz-her-neu-denken.html

        1. Yonason

          UPDATE…

          “National Grid experienced three blackout ‘near-misses’ in past few months.”
          https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/12/national-grid-experienced-three-blackout-near-misses-last-months/

          A small price to pay to enrich a few scam artists, and make oneself feel good about “doing something for the planet.”

          NOTE – SebH is immune to facts, but it’s good to get info out there for the rest of us. Thanks.

      2. M

        Sebastion, it has nothing to do with being a skeptic. Nor does calling someone a derogatory term such as “skeptic” negate an argument. That is simply a shallow and irrelevant form of ad hominem.

        It’s just science Sebastion. Asynchronous supply of power causes frequency instability. Without battery buffering systems, wind and solar are asynchronous by default. Also, lack of demand matching causes frequency instability. Germany has taken their secure supply too low to maintain grid frequency. Large portions of Germany’s secure supply were taken out of service thereby dropping the German system to a level with an insufficient buffer of secure supply to stabilize grid frequency.

        https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11708-019-0641-z

        Also see commentary on the report commissioned by the Brandenburg Ministry of Economic Affairs on the technical aspects of a secure power supply. If you search for the site using google you can get a en English translation of the article.

        https://www.pro-lausitz.de/index.php/News-leser_o/items/wir-muessen-die-energiewende-vom-grundsatz-her-neu-denken.html

  12. Phil Salmon

    Here’s one big reason why Germany’s power grid is going downhill fast:

    https://www.rt.com/news/466158-mulheim-karlich-nuclear-plant-demolition/

    Replacing the most stable source of baseline with Uber-unstable renewables – so prepare for the inevitable.

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    […] German Agency For Disaster Preparedness Calls On Citizens To “Be Ready For Widespread Blackout… […]

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