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Climate change: Drought highlights dangers for electricity supplies from nuclear, hydro, fossil, and solar sources

BBC, By Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent, 14 Aug 22,

The ongoing drought in the UK and Europe is putting electricity generation under pressure, say experts.

Electricity from hydropower – which uses water to generate power – has dropped by 20% overall.

And nuclear facilities, which are cooled using river water, have been restricted.

There are fears that the shortfalls are a taste of what will happen in the coming winter.

hat will happen in the coming winter.

In the UK, high temperatures are hitting energy output from fossil, nuclear and solar sources.

That is because the technology in power plants and solar panels work much less well in high temperatures………………………………………………………………………………..

The exceptionally hot weather is also hitting nuclear power production, especially in France. Around half of the 56 reactors in the fleet are offline, with several affected by a systemic issue with corrosion.

Those reactors that are working are often cooled with water from rivers that are now running low, while temperatures are running high.

“Once the water in the rivers is very low and very hot, basically you have to stop cooling down nuclear power plants. That’s because the water that’s released is dangerous for fish and other species in the rivers,” said Prof Sonia Seneviratne, from ETH Zurich.

The French government is now allowing some facilities to release very warm water back into the rivers, as a temporary measure.

It underlines the stresses the heat is putting on energy production. France is now making up the shortfall in electricity by importing from the UK among others.

Analysts say this is putting additional pressure on the UK system – at a time when the very warm weather is hitting production from gas and nuclear facilities.

It’s more difficult to cool the plants in the warmer weather, explains Kathryn Porter, an energy consultant with Watt-Logic.

“Solar panels also experience quite a significant drop off above 25C. Everything just works less well when it’s hot,” she adds……………. more https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-62524551

August 14, 2022 - Posted by | climate change, EUROPE

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