Poland's power grid can handle possible heatwave -energy ministry

WARSAW, June 20 (Reuters) - Poland’s electricity network would be able to handle a potential heatwave this summer, the energy ministry said.

A European power network lobby group ENTSO-E said in a report on 36 countries published this month that prolonged heatwaves this summer could cause problems for Polish and Italian electricity networks.

Poland, which generates electricity mostly from outdated coal-fuelled power stations, faces the risk of power shortages when temperatures reach extreme levels as increased demand overloads the system.

In August 2015 it had to impose curbs on power consumption due to unexpected outages and a heatwave that drained rivers that supply water to cool its coal power plants.

However, the energy ministry, in a statement published on Monday afternoon, quoted deputy energy minister Andrzej Piotrowski as saying that the ministry, grid operators and power companies were taking action to prepare for any disruption to power supplies in the event of a long heatwave this summer.

“(But) the probability of such a scenario taking place is very small,” Piotrowski said.

The ministry added that since 2015 a number of steps had been taken to avoid power shortages, including launching a power link with Lithuania.

“Taking into account the forecasts of peak demand, steps taken by the operator and favourable hydro situation, there is an infinitesimal probability of reductions in power consumption due to network overload or lack of the needed power capacities in the system in summer 2017,” the ministry said.

Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Susan Fenton