Solar Eclipse causes temporary challenge for European power supplies

19 March 2015 (Last Updated March 19th, 2015 18:30)

Europe experienced the much-awaited solar eclipse today, though partially, as 90% of the Sun's surface was blocked out by the Moon.

Europe experienced the much-awaited solar eclipse today, though partially, as 90% of the Sun’s surface was blocked out by the Moon.

The next eclipse has been predicted to occur after over a decade, in 2026.

The authorities had earlier anticipated the eclipse to affect the power sector across the continent.

European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) had announced that 35,000MW of solar energy will ‘fade’ away from the national grids during the eclipse.

"Nordlink is expected to be operational from 2020."

The blackout, which could account for 80 medium size conventional generation units, is likely to challenge the European power grids, however temporarily, before being restored.

The UK was expecting nearly 850MW of power loss during the period.

National Grid, however, looks forward to 1,100MW of energy savings during the eclipse, as lots of people were expected come outdoors for a glimpse.

National Grid forecasting manager Jeremy Caplin said: "We expect there to be a significant suppression in demand when the eclipse starts, followed by a pick-up when people start to go back inside.

"The extent of the pick-up will depend on the weather. If it’s sunny, we’re expecting a 1,700MW surge. If it’s an average day, it will be more like 1,000MW. The cloudier it is, the less of a swing we’ll see."

During the last solar eclipse in 1999, power generation across Europe was not affected much since solar energy was not as much developed at the time.

ENTSO-E had stated earlier: "Managing this event on the world’s largest interconnected grid is an unprecedented challenge for European transmission system operators (TSOs).

"After thorough operational planning work, TSOs will put in place continuous on line coordination between control rooms across Europe ahead of, and during the eclipse to better coordinate the scheduled remedial actions."