Friday

14th May 2021

EU at risk of electricity blackouts

  • Europe is at risk of power shortages because demand exceeds investment in new power outlets, the consultancy says (Photo: European Community, 2006)

Europe is at risk of power shortages because demand exceeds investment in new power outlets, says consultancy firm Capgemini.

According to a study by the consultancy the UK, France, Belgium and Greece are among the countries with the lowest levels of spare capacity of electricity.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Colette Lewiner of Capgemini said the study represents a "wake-up call" for the energy industry, governments and regulators. "We are in a dangerous zone now," she said, according to the Financial Times. "We could have power cuts."

European energy companies used to have high levels of excess capacity but in the last few years, investment in generators in most EU member states has failed to keep pace with the rise in demand of electricity, according to the study.

Capgemini said lower electricity capacity was partly due to the European energy market becoming more competitive and commercial.

Electricity generators across Europe have become more exposed to commercial pressures by the spread of liberalisation and private ownership, the consultancy said.

Investment in new power stations was also being hampered by complex planning procedures and by governments' persistent fiddling with regulations.

"How can companies plan for a 10 or 20-year return on investment when governments keep changing the rules of the game?" Ms Lewiner asked.

"It should be for national governments and the European Commission to encourage power investment in the energy industry," she said.

Capgemini counts among its clients more than 70 percent of the 30 ranked private and global utilities, as well as all five of the publicly held oil and gas "super majors", according to the company's website.

Energy efficiency

Earlier this week, the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso called on the EU to cut internal energy waste by 20 percent by 2020 to combat import dependency on countries such as Russia.

A commission action plan – due out next week - will propose new EU design regulations for household items such as boilers, TVs and light bulbs and suggest extending EU rules on energy-saving for building design.

Energy is set to be one of the key issues on the agenda when Germany takes over the rotating EU presidency in January 2007.

EU aims at 'zero pollution' in air, water and soil by 2050

The European Commission unveiled a plan to reduce pollution to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems by 2050 - including reducing the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution by 55 percent.

Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office

Slovenia was supposed to nominate a delegated prosecutor for the new European Public Prosecutor Office, in charge of cracking down on corruption of EU funds. Ljubljana finalised procedures in December but has yet to send nominations, causing headaches.

News in Brief

  1. No EUobserver newsletter on Friday 14 May
  2. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  3. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  4. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  5. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  6. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  7. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  8. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU aims at 'zero pollution' in air, water and soil by 2050
  2. French police arrest Luxembourg former top spy
  3. Vaccine drives spur better-than-expected EU economic recovery
  4. Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office
  5. 'No place to hide' in Gaza, as fighting escalates
  6. EU chases 90m AstraZeneca vaccines in fresh legal battle
  7. Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP
  8. Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us