Preparing for the worst-case scenario

Authorities draft emergency measures to prevent blackout if Russian gas is completely cut off

Preparing for the worst-case scenario

Given the possibility of a complete cut-off of Russian natural gas in the coming winter, Greece’s Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) has drafted a series of emergency measures to prevent a nationwide blackout.

Such an outcome would have dire consequences ranging from catastrophic to critical, as it may cause the loss of human life and significant disruptions to the interconnected electricity systems of other countries.

In the worst-case scenario of a complete cut-off of Russian gas, power will, according to RAE, be essentially rationed.

What is certain is that restricted gas flows will have a direct impact on the country’s electricity system, whose reliance on fuel imports is more than 40%.

Bearing this in mind, Greece’s power grid operator, ADMIE, would have to proceed with the implementation of emergency measures in order to deal with the problems of a partial or total system collapse.

These measures include an increase in the operation of lignite and hydroelectric plants and the diesel operation of gas plants that can run on alternative fuel.

In the context of European energy solidarity, it will request emergency assistance from operators in neighboring countries that do not face a problem of power sufficiency, which is highly unlikely in the present circumstances.

Consumers will be urged to reduce their use of electricity during peak times. Moreover, in order to achieve maximum energy savings, heating and cooling systems will have to be modified. 

Savings will also have to be made in the lighting, water, and sewage industries. The measures also could imply the activation of load shedding mechanisms of industrial enterprises.

If these measures fail to keep the system afloat, then authorities will have to proceed with power load cuts to businesses and residential consumers.

The scenario of a complete interruption of Russian gas, together with that of cyber attacks and extreme weather events, have been assessed by the RAE as an extreme risk to Greece’s electricity system, among a total of 16 crisis scenarios that it examined in the framework of the Electricity Sector Risk Preparedness Plan for the years 2021 to 2024, which it put to public consultation on Wednesday following the draft it drew up in June.

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