Solar eclipse to test European electricity grids in March 2015, says French operator

On the other hand, UK grid operator dismisses the possibility of a drastic impact

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 22 July 2015

Photo courtesy: Thephatphilmz/WikipediaEuropean electricity grids will have to prepare for an almost total solar eclipse over northern Europe in March 2015, considering their increased dependence on solar power production. Grids will be required to adjust to the changes in power outputs during the eclipse, according to French power grid operator RTE.

"The passage of this shadow will considerably reduce photovoltaic power production," Dominique Maillard, the head of RTE, told reporters. "According to our calculations, the impact could be a drop in production of as much as 30,000 megawatts across Europe," he said.

NASA predicts a total solar eclipse on the morning of March 20, 2015, that will be visible from Iceland, Europe and northern parts of Africa and Asia.

UK operator, National Grid, has denied the possibility of a major impact.

“In general, loss of photovoltaic power production will offset the demand suppression of people watching the eclipse. In the event of bad weather, less people will watch the event, and there will be less photovoltaic generation to be lost,” Gillian West, a spokeswoman for the company, told Next Energy News according to this report.

Renewable energy company Good Energy was quoted as saying in the report that grid companies are used to dealing with changes in power generation. It also said that solar generation sites will experience the impact of the eclipse only for a short duration as the eclipse will move from one place to another across Europe.

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