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The World Cup and Energy - Burak Yitgin


Although the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is advertised as a "carbon neutral" event, many civil society organizations, including Carbonwatch, have agreed that the World Cup is not actually "carbon neutral". Aside from the carbon neutrality of the event, another point to focus on is the demand impact on people as a whole.


Despite the fact that the warm fall and the resulting full storage levels have led to a decline in natural gas and electricity prices across Europe, it remains uncertain how a cold winter will affect prices. In Europe, we should not only discuss a crisis in the context of natural gas.


Falling river levels due to the drought in Europe, especially in the fall, affected some nuclear power plants and some coal-fired power plants that operated on coal transported over rivers. These factors increased the gas price sensitivity of European spot electricity prices. Here we see supply shocks arising from various reasons. On the other hand, we are also experiencing many demand shocks, especially heat/cold waves.


If we look at this situation for this December, we expect a colder winter than previous years in 2022, what would be the impact of the 2022 World Cup finals, which will be played during a possible cold weather wave?


According to National Grid's data, the instantaneous change in people's consumption habits was observed to have increased by 1400 MW during the half-time of the EURO2020 semi-final between England and Denmark in the United Kingdom alone, and by 2800 MW on the electricity grid after the penalties of the 1990 England - Germany World Cup semi-final. Given the need for instantaneous balancing of electricity supply/demand, it is obvious how difficult this is to meet. For this reason, National Grid is known to make statements for similar moments from time to time.


The main reason for these spikes is that users change their consumption habits. Although the most well-known example is "kettle use", it is also known that the increase in water use in the home is primarily due to the increase in electricity from the water pump. This is not only a European phenomenon and not only in electricity. With the end of the 2018 Superbowl, it was observed that instant water demand rose by 20%. Although there is not yet a study on the electricity used by water pumps, the electricity consumption of water pumps is a known fact.


We know that the World Cup final will be played on December 18 at 20:00 Central European Time (CET), in other words, at peak demand time in Europe. Of course, all market stakeholders, especially system operators, will anticipate demand increases. The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has already publicized in its Winter Outlook that it sees a qualification risk in France during the week of the World Cup final. On the other hand, no stakeholder knows how many minutes the match will be extended during a potential Germany - France final. We will see how instantaneously changing the consumption habits of millions of people will undermine supply security.

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