In A Few Days, The UK Will Experience A Near Total Eclipse And An Equinox
The biggest concerns are whether the skies will be clear next Friday, and what will happen with the power supply during the eclipse.
The natural phenomenon will go live next Friday, 20th of March, at around 8-8.30am. A solar eclipse refers to the moment when the Sun, Moon and Earth align, allowing the Moon’s shadow to pass over the Earth. Scotland will see an almost total eclipse, at 98%, and the Faroe Island and Svalbard will be the only inhabited areas that will see the total eclipse. The rest of the UK will see a partial eclipse. London is expected to have 85% of the sun covered, and the peak of the eclipse is forecasted for 9.30am. The partial eclipse will also be visible across Europe, North Africa, some areas in the Middle East and Western Russia.
Moreover, Thursday night will also be scenario for a natural phenomenon, making a “supermoon” visible when the moon makes its closest pass in its orbit around the Earth. This means that the moon will appear bigger than usual.
However, it is not sure whether the sky will be clear on Friday in the UK, thus enabling the people to see the spectacle at its maximum splendor. This could be sad news, since the next total eclipse to reach the UK is expected for September 2090. On another note, Europe’s power suppliers have expressed their concerns about the two hours of darkness that this phenomenon will create.
What Will Happen With Power Supply During The 2 Hours of Darkness?
While this wasn’t a problem in 1999, when the last total eclipse took place, 2 hours of darkness in peak working hours can be a threat to power supplies in a country that is relying quite a lot on solar energy for its energy supply. While only 0.1% of renewable energy in Europe was made from solar energy back in 1999, this number has grown to 10.2% by 2012.
This imposes a threat and a challenge for European transmission system operators, since they own the world’s largest interconnected grid. A clear sky on March 20th should generate around 35,000MW of solar energy, and all of this power will be lost due to the eclipse. In addition, it is a time of the day when offices are active and thus energy demand is quite high.