Siberian cold that hit Europe has led to record-breaking power consumption in many countries. The demand for all kinds of energy sources, natural gas in particular, has significantly increased. Europe asked of its main supplier, the Russian “Gazprom”, deliveries increased by 50%, which cannot be met even by this gigantic supplier. Increased consumption has caused an explosion of price on the stock markets, so natural gas is up to 70% more expensive. For the time being, Serbia has no problems with the gas supply, but the increase in power consumption is alarming. Ranka Pavlovic has more.
Electricity supply in Serbia could soon be threatened, because consumption is consistently breaking records. Due to extremely low temperatures, up to minus 30 degrees Celsius, lake near the power plant “Djerdap 1” on the Danube is frozen. Navigation is completely halted, and due to the lower water inflow, the daily production of electricity has been reduced by 35%. In addition to rivers, ice has covered the coal mining machinery. Thus, equipment in the mining basin “Kolubara”, which supplies the largest power plant “Nikola Tesla”, has frozen, and the transportation to power plants is hampered. During the first week of February only, production in this mining basin was reduced by about 30% of the planned quantities.
When it comes to electricity imports, it covers 10% of Serbian consumption, but soon it will not be enough. The problem is even greater, because the other countries in the region are in a critical situation, so that traditional exporters of electricity, such as Bulgaria, have suspended exports because of domestic needs. Therefore, it is necessary to save at least 10% of electricity, so, for starters, some 2000 companies that are not of vital importance are to experience electricity supply cuts. The gas supply in Serbia is stable, although supplies of Russian gas have been reduced by 2 million cubic meters per day, which represents almost half the current daily consumption of Belgrade. Shortfall is being offset by greater involvement of the underground storage Banatski Dvor, as well as the domestic production increase.
On average, the EU imports one third of the gas supply from Russia. In Italy, the supply of Russian gas has been reduced by 20%. No matter that the official Rome increased imports of this energy source from Algeria and Northern Europe, restrictive measures are in place cutting gas supplies to some industries in this country. Austria, covering as much as 47% of gas consumption by Russian sources, has faced a similar situation.