Covid-19: International Energy Agency cautions against blackouts as power demand drops

The International Energy Agency has cautioned economies across the globe against blackouts, which can worsen the global crisis triggered by Covid-19 outbreak.

Strong confinement measures have resulted in electricity demand dropping by around 15% in many countries, largely as a result of factories and businesses halting operations. Hyundai factory on the outskirts of Chennai, for instance, has shut shop temporarily.

The decline in electricity demand, while rendering the power generation capacity abundant, also deprives the system of its balancing capability. Unless a fine balance is struck between power demand and supply, systems could fail.

If conventional thinking is that power outages happen only when demand overwhelms supply, some of the most high-profile blackouts in recent times took place during periods of low demand, cautioned IEA.

The disruption caused by the virus has underlined how much modern society relies on electricity. In such an unsettling and rapidly evolving situation, power is critical for treating soaring numbers of sick reporting at hospitals.

Ventilators cannot run without power. Power is also critical for keeping the channels of communication live between governments and citizens and doctors and patients.

People are also getting increasingly dependent on digital technology. With millions of people confined to their homes, doing teleworking and e-shopping, streaming video platforms for entertainment and powering devices like refrigerators

ET Energy World
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