Unless the UK and the USA invest in their supply infrastructures companies can expect an increase of power blackouts in the coming years, which will have a negative impact upon business.
Allianz say that the increasing amount of renewable technologies coming onto ageing networks is a recipe for disaster. Risk experts are saying companies need to prepare better for likely blackouts to mitigate their losses. Michael Bruch, a risk consultant for AGCS said: “Smart grids with metering, communication and control technologies and new storage and transport capacities are needed to handle the growth of renewable energies.”
Ageing supply infrastructures can trigger knock-on effects, which may result in blackouts in neighboring grids too. According to the study the 2003 blackout in North America caused an economic loss of between $4-8 billion. Allianz warns that even limited outages have a significant economic impact – equivalent to an estimated loss of about €350,000 per event in steel works or about €6 million per hour in financial trading.
The study also warns of another potential trigger for blackouts- within the next two years geomagnetic induced solar flare storms, following an 11-year cycle are expected to peak again in 2013. These storms can severely damage high-voltage transformers whose repair can take days or even weeks.