Another scorching heatwave will hit northwest and central Europe this week, putting additional pressure on the continent's overburdened energy infrastructure.
Heatwaves in the UK, Germany and France are expected to reach nearly 36 degrees Celsius on Friday, according to Maxar Technologies LLC. The heat will increase the need for cooling, exacerbating already dry conditions that are detrimental to crops, and impose restrictions on water use.
Extreme heat has already taken its toll on the continent, with France recording its driest July on record and England its driest in nearly 90 years, highlighting the impact of climate warming on vital infrastructure. The water level of the Rhine River, a vital artery for the transport of goods and manufactured goods, is so low that trade on some sections of the waterway could be stopped.
The heat has caused fires near London and warnings that rail lines could warp have forced power plants to run at low power levels to prevent overheating. In France, regulators have granted Electricite de France SA temporary permission for five nuclear power plants to dump hot water into rivers, which could violate environmental standards.
While temperatures are unlikely to reach the record levels set in July, the heatwave comes amid a historic energy crisis as Russia cuts natural gas supplies to the region. The crisis has fueled skyrocketing inflation, threatening recession in some of Europe's largest economies. Electricity prices in Germany and France have risen to record highs in recent days.
Maxar predicts the heat will peak at 31.5 degrees Celsius in London by Friday and 32.5 degrees in Frankfurt.