European Grid Shines Through Solar Eclipse
The European electricity grid came through the first solar eclipse of the renewable energy era in good shape, delivering a steady power supply to consumers while 39 gigawatts (39 billion watts) of generation went offline in the morning, then came back on the grid before noon.
“Due to the large amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) power that has come online across Europe since the last solar eclipse in 1999, many were worried that grids could experience crippling fluctuations,” Power Engineering International reports.
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But after describing the eclipse as a “stress test” for its grid infrastructure, the European Network Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) “reported that the grid had passed the test, thanks to ‘meticulous preparation and strong regional and European co-operation,’” Bayar writes.
“The most critical moment, ENTSO-E said, was between 10:45 and 11:15, when the sun reappeared and solar power generation began to climb back to its normal levels,” according to Power Engineering. After the moment passed, Dutch grid operator TenneT tweeted that “everything went well. Preparation paid off.”
Bloomberg noted that, “while there were no reports of power shortages, prices for electricity in wholesale markets both surged and dipped for a short time” due to the eclipse. Consultant Philipp Goetz of Energy Brainpool in Berlin told the news service “it would have been difficult to deal with a situation like today without conventional power plants.”
Bloomberg New Energy solar analyst Pietro Radoia agreed that “it’s tougher to manage the grid with a high penetration of wind and solar,” although “grid operators are going to get better at managing” over time. “And it’s possible that battery storage will help them out.”