Europe’s latest energy worries: U.K. experiencing blackouts and Germany’s Rhine running dry

As American tourists flock to all corners of Europe this summer, frolicking outside and sometimes complaining about the heat, the region’s energy and climate crisis continues to grow.

In the latest piece of headline news, Bloomberg reported Tuesday Officials in the UK had a “reasonable worst-case scenario” for possible gas shortages and a cold winter that could force organized blackouts.

That scenario includes potential cuts in electricity imports from France and Norway, as the countries struggle to ensure they can supply their own people in the winter. A UK government source quoted by Bloomberg said that supply cuts were not expected.

Still, social media offered some glimpses Previous blackouts:

Concerns about potential power shortages in the UK and gas shortages across Europe have been heightened by Russia’s six-month war in Ukraine, which has pushed up commodity prices and left governments scrambling to divest themselves of Russian energy. Consulting firm Cornwall Insight has warned that energy bills for a typical UK household could triple next year, reaching £4,266 ($5,208).

“The winter outlook for electricity and gas supplies in Europe has become increasingly grim, with countries such as the UK now taking swift action to plan for the worst. We are seeing more nationalized efforts in response to supply tightening, with Norway warning of possible export freezes in the event of short supply, boosting country-level efforts to secure supplies independently,” noted analysts at RBC Capital Markets.

The UK is also facing water shortages due to a lack of rain amid record heat.

A heat wave has also hit the continent, with extreme temperatures sparking wildfires in Spain and Portugal, while Italy’s rice – especially its beloved risotto rice – In danger of becoming dry and salty.

It all comes in the summer of so-called revenge travel, seen as part of an emissions problem with demands to send passengers to the skies since 2½ years of the pandemic. German travel operator TUI TUI,
+1.36%
On Wednesday, third-quarter bookings were reported at 90% of the levels seen in 2019.

Don’t miss: The sum also adds up: Hemingway enthusiasts and other tourists to Spain have significantly higher rates of inflation than those in the US.

See also: The latest in inflation woes for Germany: It’s not french fries with currywurst

Water shortages have become a major problem for Germany, with news on Wednesday that the Rhine’s falling levels could reach a critical point by the end of the week, adding to the continent’s grief. A marker just west of Frankfurt was set to drop to less than 16 inches, meaning barges would not be able to carry significant hauls of coal and diesel along the ancient trade route.

“Low water levels are a déjà vu of 2018 and are increasing capacity constraints in German inland navigation. While the economic impact will be smaller in 2018, it could be more significant this time around given the critical logistics of fossil fuels,” Deutsche Bank analysts Mark Schattenberg and Stefan Schneider said in a note last week.

“As coal-fired power plants take over to save gas, waterways could become an Achilles’ heel. Much of the coal needed is transported by barges from Dutch ports,” and cargo ships are already shedding their loads, analysts added.

Wednesday also marked the official start of Spain’s plan to save energy, with a decision to limit air conditioning for businesses to 27 degrees Celsius (80° Fahrenheit) in the summer drawing heavy criticism in some corners, while shop windows and public buildings must have lights on. Closed at 10pm local time.

Winter heating for the same establishments shall be limited to a temperature of 19° Celsius (equivalent to 66.2° Fahrenheit).

Spanish Government Explained Hotel guests will be able to keep things cool in their rooms, while gyms, public transport, restaurants and bars will be able to maintain an ambient temperature of 25° Celsius. Schools and hospitals are among the establishments exempted from the new rules.

This year, Oil & Sector SXEP,
-0.03%
European stock markets fared best with a 17% gain, while retailers SXRP,
+3.08%
27% have fallen.

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