Energy experts have warned that the upcoming solar eclipse, thought to be the biggest since 1999, might cause blackouts across Europe.

20th March 2015 will see nearly 90% of the sun’s rays blocked out in parts of Europe, as the moon moves across the sun.  Students interested in Physics and Earth Sciences should read more about what causes a solar eclipse and look further into the phases of the eclipse worldwide. Although the solar output in Britain is expected to halve during the event, it is unlikely to cause problems, as the UK uses only a minimal amount of solar power for electricity. Other parts of Europe, however, may be plunged into darkness.

The head of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for electricity has acknowledged that the ‘increase of installed photovoltaic energy generation’ makes the possibility of an incident more likely. The organisation has been preparing to counteract this possibility for several months and those interested in renewable energy hope this will provide an opportunity to ‘glimpse the future of our power systems’.

Geography, Human Sciences and HSPS students should consider how this might change our perspectives on renewable energy for the future and how different communities might be affected by the eclipse.

There is not expected to be another solar eclipse until 2026, so all students should be sure to watch the sky between 8.40am and 11am on 20th March 2015.  

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