There has been much debate of late on the ability of Greece’s grid to operate up to standard amid extreme conditions, the talk prompted by last month’s deadly flash floods in the country’s northern region Halkidiki, as well as the current heatwave throughout the country.
Rising air and water temperatures impact both conventional and nuclear energy production, Europe’s biggest energy source, in a number of ways. Water temperatures need to be at optimal levels for nuclear stations to function properly. Operations at nuclear energy facilities in France have needed to be interrupted this year, as well as in the past, as a result of unsuitable water temperatures.
High air temperatures impact, for various reasons, the output levels of gas and fuel-fired power stations, renewable energy sources, as well as nuclear energy facilities, while coal and biomass units are less affected.
Natural gas-fired power station production levels drop by 0.1 percent for every one-degree Celsius increase in air temperature. The production drop is greater for nuclear units, reaching 0.5 percent. A further one-percent production drop is caused by every 5-degree Celsius increase in water temperature.
Hydropower facilities are affected as a result of greater evaporation and lower water levels.
Solar energy systems also produce less amid extremely hot temperatures, the drop estimated at between 0.4 and 0.5 percent for every one degree Celsius increase in temperature, according to an older study.
Though alternative sources are brought into action to ensure energy sufficiency when certain electricity production units are under-performing, networks, also susceptible to heatwaves, do not have such flexibility.
Higher temperatures affect the production levels of transformers and cables, overland and underground. Network yield losses increase by one percent for every three-degree Celsius rise in temperature. The increased threat of fires, as was experienced in the worst possible way in California last year, only makes matters worse.
Energy system adjustments are urgently needed in various parts of the world, including Greece, as grids were shaped under certain assumptions and factors that reflect past conditions, not more recent developments, namely global warming and climate change.
Over the past decade or so, certain countries, including France, have made energy system revisions and implemented these changes. However, the speed at which the climate has destabilized may require follow-up revisions.