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Europe’s grid operators prepare for summer heatwave

Italy is planning to bring shut-down power plants back online this summer in expectation of very high temperatures, according to the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E).

The country’s TSO Terna also plans to invoke demand side response in case of a heat wave. But despite the planned countermeasures, ENTSO-E said there is still the risk of load shedding in case of strong heatwaves, low hydropower reserves and medium-to-low wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) generation.

In its 2017 summer outlook report, ENTSO-E said Italy’s balance between generation and consumption “will have to be monitored most of the summer” due to recent power plant closures. The most critical period is expected to be from mid-June until the end of July and the risks mainly concern central and northern Italy around the peak consumption time of 7 pm.

ENTSO-E’s simulations showed that, if temperatures exceeded 28à‚°C, covering Italy’s peak demand “could be highly challenging”, with the risk of load shedding estimated at around 20 per cent.

Elsewhere in Europe, Poland’s grid could also come under stress according to the report, which noted that the country’s peak power consumption time is between 1 and 2 pm.

While Poland imports solar power from neighbouring Germany to cover its peak demand, ENTSO-E said imports are limited “due to unscheduled flows through the Polish system”.

Poland’s TSO could invoke demand side response or increase power imports, but ENTSO-E said these measures may not be enough to balance the grid and that load shedding could be needed.

“Therefore, the Polish TSO is of the opinion that the missing capacity problem will be solved by the implementation of a capacity market in Poland,” the report said.

During off-peak hours, ENTSO-E said each country would have enough transmission capacity to export a surplus of renewable power, although some limited PV or wind “spillage” could occur in southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia on some sunny Sundays.à‚