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Heat wave issues a ‘red alert’ in electricity supply  

Heat wave issues a ‘red alert’ in electricity supply  

Posted July. 19, 2021 07:28,   

Updated July. 19, 2021 07:28


A heat dome that sends the temperature above 35 degrees Celsius during the daytime is projected to stay until the end of this month, which is posing a crisis in electricity supply and demand. The electric power reserve rate is expected to fall to the four percent range on the last week of July. Some are concerned that the electricity crisis in 2011 could occur again if the heat wave persists.  

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Power Exchange on Sunday, the electric power reserve rate fell below 10GW, which is the stable level from Monday to Friday. The rate subtracts the amount of electricity currently being used from the total supply capacity. It fell below 10GW at the end of August last year, but it is analyzed that electricity usage sharply increased this year due to higher factory operation rates and increased use of air conditioning because of the heat wave that arrived early.

It is projected that electricity demand for air conditioning would increase as the heat wave is predicted to become more intense from this week and tropical nights would last. The Korea Meteorological Administration projected that a heat dome would cover the lower and upper part of the atmosphere of the Korean Peninsula after Monday. There is a chance that the daytime temperature high would be around 40 degrees Celsius.  

Increased electricity demand caused by the prolonged heat wave is likely to further decrease the power reserve rate. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced its electricity supply and demand projection at the end of last month and predicted the power reserve rate to hover around 4.2 to 8.8 percent and hit a low of 4.0GW on the fourth week of July.  

An electricity supply and demand emergency alert is used when the reserve rate falls below 5.5GW. It would be the first alert in eight years since 2013 if it is issued this year. A state of alert was declared when the power reserve rate fell to 3.2 percent in mid-August 2013.

Choong-Hyun Song balgun@donga.com