ENTSO-E published its “Winter Outlook 2017-2018”, a short-term energy sufficiency Report that analyses the main risks for the winter period and underlines the possibilities of generation and demand balance contribution through cooperation among countries. Specifically, the Winter Outlook considers the period from 29 November 2017 to 01 April 2018 and estimates that Europe will have sufficient generation under normal demand conditions. However, under extreme conditions, several countries including the UK, France, Belgium, Poland, and Italy, may require imports to cover expected demand. In addition, the Report states that in case of over-generation (high variable RES generation and low demand), some curtailment may be needed in Ireland and in some bidding zones in the southern part of Italy.
The Winter Outlook also analyses the trend in the evolution of generation sources in Europe. In 2017, there was a continuous decommissioning of thermal power plants, which was “partly compensated” by new commissioned RES generation. In this line, the Report presents an overview of the current reservoir levels in major hydro-generating countries, highlighting potential risks for the future. Reservoir levels at the beginning of 2017 were relatively low in Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, and Austria, while remaining at average levels in Norway. However, the summer period resulted in an increase in reservoir levels in all of those countries, apart from Italy and Spain. According to ENTSO-E, “this can be perceived as an indicator of overcoming potential risks for the coming winter associated with low reserves, because reservoir levels on a pan-European scale are currently in comparatively average levels”.