E.U. power use rises for first time since virus lockdown. Indicates economic activity increase.

April 30, 2020

Electricity use in the European Union rose for the first time in eight weeks, indicating economic activity may be starting to increase as coronavirus infections and deaths decline according to an April 28, 2020 Energywire Report.

Factory doors are reopening after nations from Denmark to Germany began easing restrictions on public life. Volkswagen AG has begun rebooting plants, while Airbus SE is up and running as Europe starts returning to work after shutdowns plunged the region into its worst economic slump in living memory.

The restart is crucial to pull the region’s economy out of a tailspin that’s forced governments to pledge hundreds of billions of euros to keep companies afloat in the global health crisis. The Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan and European Central Bank all announce policy decisions this week in the battle against the pandemic as some countries proceed with steps to relax lockdown measures.

“The worst is over in terms of hits to demand,” said Elchin Mammadov, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “Most utilities have written 2020 off. The recession is a bigger problem than weekly fluctuations in demand. We could see another drop later in the year.”

The E.U.’s total power load rose 0.2% week-on-week to 49.97 terawatt-hours in the seven days through Saturday, according to data from power grids compiled by Finnish power-technology company Wärtsilä Oyj.

The number of infections and fatalities in Germany rose by the slowest pace in a month, as Europe’s biggest economy reopened some schools. Italy will ease its lockdown in just over a week, while U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to work yesterday after recovering from contracting the virus.

But electricity demand was still 7.5% below the same week last year, the Wärtsilã data show. The previous week it was 13.5% lower from 2019.

And economic activity in Europe remains in a slump, according to surveys of activity and confidence published in recent days. As governments ease back on restrictions, a return to business-as-usual remains some way off, with officials taking cautious steps, wary of a second outbreak of the virus.

The stabilization of demand is “a sign that we’ve reached some sort of bottom in the real economy,” said Matti Rautkivi, director of strategy and business development at Wärtsilã Energy Group. “There will be a rebound, but how fast is the question.

What this means to you
Electricity use in the European Union rose for the first time in eight weeks, indicating economic activity may be starting to increase as coronavirus infections and deaths decline.

MIRATECH can help
Contact MIRATECH for stationary engine particulate matter solutions in Europe.