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Damaged pylon in Germany after Windstorm Kyrill 2007

Energy supplies

European windstorms wipe out electrical generation capacity across large areas, making supplementation from abroad difficult (windturbines shut down to avoid damage and nuclear capacity may shut if cooling water is contaminated or flooding of the power plant occurs). Transmission capabilities can also be severely limited if power lines are brought down by snow, ice or high winds. In the wake of Cyclone Gudrun in 2005 Denmark and Latvia had difficulty importing electricity,European windstorms wipe out electrical generation capacity across large areas, making supplementation from abroad difficult (windturbines shut down to avoid damage and nuclear capacity may shut if cooling water is contaminated or flooding of the power plant occurs). Transmission capabilities can also be severely limited if power lines are brought down by snow, ice or high winds. In the wake of Cyclone Gudrun in 2005 Denmark and Latvia had difficulty importing electricity,[38] and Sweden lost 25% of its total power capacity as the Ringhals Nuclear Power Plant and Barsebäck nuclear power plant nuclear plants were shut down.[39]

During the Boxing Day Storm of 1998 the reactors at Hunterston B nuclear power station were shut down when power was lost, possibly due to arcing at pylons caused by salt spray from the sea.[40] When the grid connection was restored, the generators that had powered the station during the blackout were shut down and left on "manual start", so when the power failed again the station was powered by batteries for a short time of around 30 minutes, until the diesel generators were started manually.[40] During this period the reactors were left without forced cooling, in a similar fashion to the Fuk

During the Boxing Day Storm of 1998 the reactors at Hunterston B nuclear power station were shut down when power was lost, possibly due to arcing at pylons caused by salt spray from the sea.[40] When the grid connection was restored, the generators that had powered the station during the blackout were shut down and left on "manual start", so when the power failed again the station was powered by batteries for a short time of around 30 minutes, until the diesel generators were started manually.[40] During this period the reactors were left without forced cooling, in a similar fashion to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, but the event at Hunterston was rated as International Nuclear Event Scale 2.[40][41]

A year later in 1999 during the Lothar storm Flooding at the Blayais Nuclear Power Plant resulted in a "level 2" event on the International Nuclear Event Scale.[42] Cyclone Lothar and Martin in 1999 left 3.4 million customers in France without electricity, and forced EdF to acquire all the available portable power generators in Europe, with some even being brought in from Canada.[39] These storms brought a fourth of France's high-tension transmission lines down and 300 high-voltage transmission pylons were toppled. It was one of the greatest energy disruptions ever experienced by a modern developed country.[43]

Following the Great Storm of 1987 the High Voltage Cross-Channel Link between the UK and France was interrupted, and the storm caused a domino-effect of power outages throughout the Southeast of England.[44] Conversely windstorms can produce too much wind power. Cyclone Xynthia hit Europe in 2010, generating 19000 megawatts of electricity from Germany's 21000 wind turbines. The electricity produced was too much for consumers to use, and prices on the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig plummeted, which resulted in the grid operators having to pay over 18 euros per megawatt-hour to offload it, costing around half a million euros in total.[45]

Disruption of the gas supply during Cyclone Dagmar in 2011 left Royal Dutch Shell's Ormen Lange gas processing plant in Norway inoperable after its electricity was cut off by the storm. This left gas supplies in the United Kingdom vulnerable as this facility can supply up to 20 percent of the United Kingdom's needs via the Langeled pipeline. However, the disruption came at a time of low demand.[46] The same storm also saw the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant also affected, as algae and mud stirred up by the storm were sucked into the cooling system, resulting in one of the generators being shut down.[47][48] A similar situation was reported in the wake of Storm Angus in 2016 (though not linked specifically to the storm) when reactor 1 at Torness Nuclear Power Station in Scotland was taken offline after a sea water intake tripped due to excess seaweed around the inlet.[49] Also following Storm Angus the UK's National Grid launched an investigation into whether a ship's anchor damaged four of the eight cables of the Cross Channel high voltage interconnector, which would leave it only able to operate at half of its capacity until February 2017.[50]