Europe's energy crisis worsened this week when Kosovo introduced rolling blackouts to most of its two million citizens, according to Bloomberg.
On Thursday, the Kosovo Energy Distribution Services (KEDS) announced rolling two-hour power blackouts for 2 million people due to an "overload" of its electrical grid.
KEDS asked customers to reduce power given "insufficient internal generation to cover consumption and the global energy crisis."
The Balkan country, Europe's poorest nation, experienced a technical issue at its largest coal-fired power plant that had to shut down last month, which forced the government to import electricity at high prices.
Simultaneously, Serbia was forced to cut electricity to customers, Britain's network operator issued a power supply warning, and France's nuclear plant outage, all culminated into a perfect storm of straining the continent's grid, resulting in reduced power supplies and exorbitantly high prices.
No surprises in the announcement today by Kosovo of rolling two-hours blackouts for most consumers. It was very clear, three months ago, that the real crisis was in Eastern Europe, and particularly in the Balkans. The EU was sleeping. Or didn’t care. | #EuropeanEnergyCrisis https://t.co/xFMVE4zxwc— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) December 23, 2021
Last week, Kosovo's economy minister, Artane Rizvanolli, said the shuttering of the nation's main coal-fired power plant had worsened the energy crisis. He said power imports were "extremely costly."
Grid data from Entso-E shows electricity imports from Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia plunged from 750 megawatts on Wednesday to about 469 megawatts on Thursday.
Jeremy Weir, CEO of commodities trader Trafigura Group, warned that more European countries could face rolling blackouts in the event of a severe winter.
Eleven European associations (from steel to fertilizers to cement to paper mills) published a memo Thursday indicating energy-intensive companies are paying "unbearably high energy prices" that may force them to shutter operations.
However, there is good news for the continent as benchmark Dutch front-month gas plunged as much as 43% from a peak of 180 euros per megawatt-hour to around 102 euros in the last several days as a flotilla of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers is headed to the fuel-starved continent.
More good news is that weather forecasts for Germany will turn milder. This will help keep a lid on gas prices.
Europe remains caught in its worst energy crisis ever as some relief is on the way, but the worst may not be over as the Northern Hemisphere winter has just begun.