Power supply in Germany: are there power outages in winter?

Draw this winter power outages because of the energy crisis? A representative survey by the Civey Institute recently showed that a majority (53 percent) of citizens are very concerned about this. Among the 18 to 29 year olds it was even 60 percent, as the news portal “Watson” reported. But how likely are power outages in Germany this winter? An overview.

How often do power outages occur in Germany?

Of the Federal Network Agency In 2020, exactly 162,224 power outages in 868 power grids were known nationwide, around 2,400 more than in 2019. Based on the individual customer, this meant no power for an average of 10.73 minutes, mind you, for the whole year. This was the lowest downtime since the authorities first surveyed it in 2006. The average for the years 2010 to 2020 is 14.05 minutes. When the figures were published, the Federal Network Agency spoke of a “constantly high level” of “supply reliability”.

Is there a greater risk of power failure this year than usual?

The electricity market expert Christian Rehtanz does not assume that there is a greater risk of power failure. "The electricity system is secured at peak times by gas-fired power plants in order to cover the required output," says the professor for energy systems and energy management at the Technical University University of Dortmund. The gas and electricity sectors are therefore linked. "Due to the immense importance of the electricity sector, everything will be done to keep it running." He assumes that even in the event of a gas shortage, gas will primarily be used to generate electricity and industrial customers will no longer be supplied with gas.

So there is no need to fear a blackout?

Electricity market expert Fabian Huneke from the consulting firm Energy Brainpool does not fear a blackout in Germany this winter, i.e. an uncontrolled collapse of the electricity supply. "At best, a so-called brownout is possible, in which the transmission system operators would have to take individual large consumers or regions off the grid by the hour," says Huneke. This can happen in the early evening when it is very cold, for example, when household electricity consumption increases sharply.

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