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.