A worst-case scenario
The situation is dramatic. Electricity shortages and blackouts are threatening Europe. A long-lasting, widespread power outage is considered by experts to be one of the worst disaster scenarios.
This is one of them.
Our society, our entire civilization with everything we have, do and are, is based on electricity. Do you have any idea what would happen in Europe if we ran out of electricity in the middle of winter? We are not heading for a crisis, we are heading for an energy catastrophe and there are few scenarios that are so apocalyptic. Europe is facing nothing less than doom. If politicians and the media were half in possession of their mental faculties, they would do everything they could to prevent the impending European energy apocalypse. Denial of reality threatens the very existence of Europe.
The enforced energy transition is tantamount to a continental suicide. This is not doom and gloom; all factually balanced developments point in the same direction. The silence of the media and the refusal of politics to act is absolutely scandalous. You are not really aware of the relations: A continental blackout puts even a nuclear war in the shade.
The next three years will be extremely critical. Without peace with Russia and China, the energy crisis is irreversible, and unilateral and escalating behavior will have devastating consequences for Europe of apocalyptic proportions.
On January 16, 2020, the Austrian Armed Forces informed the public during the security policy kick-off of the year 2020 that the Armed Forces expect a blackout to occur with a 100 percent probability within the next five years.
A publication of the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag states: “Due to the almost complete penetration of the living and working environment with electrically operated devices, the consequences of a prolonged and large-scale power blackout would add up to a damage situation of special quality. All critical infrastructures would be affected, and a collapse of society as a whole would be almost impossible to prevent.”
Whether caused by an extreme weather event, a geomagnetic storm, the use of EMP weapons such as a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (NEMP), or a cyber attack, there are a number of increasingly likely scenarios in the near future that could result in a widespread and prolonged power outage with devastating consequences for our society.
The discussion is too important to be left to rainbow-drenched media, ideological daydreamers and politicians caught in the tunnel vision of their party program. That is why it is important to tell people the truth and make the irreversible chain reactions very clear to them.
Conflict and Power Deficit
In the course of the first half of 2022, the escalation in the Ukraine conflict between the EU / NATO on the one hand and Russia / China on the other will continue to escalate. Russia responds to Europe’s oil embargo by cutting off Europe’s gas supply more and more.
In January 2023, temperatures of -25 °C and lower are measured at night. During the day, maximum temperatures are well below -5 °C. It is a colder than average winter across Europe. The cold spell lasts until mid-February.
Following the cold snap, power plants throughout Europe are producing at their production limits. Demand for electricity on the European electricity markets is very high. The high-voltage lines are withstanding the masses of snow, but the strong demand for electricity and the simultaneous decline in the international supply of electricity are jeopardizing safe system operation (overload). There is a threat of supply bottlenecks and power outages. Although the available power plants produce around the clock, they do not succeed in balancing consumption and generation. This results in a power shortage throughout Europe.
In order to make targeted use of the remaining energy reserves, quotas will be imposed on large consumers and electricity trading transactions and market mechanisms will be restricted or suspended for the period of management. In addition, during this period, the import and export of electrical energy will be coordinated so that the energy produced by the countries themselves and the countries’ energy reserves are used primarily for self-supply.
Very quickly, network shutdowns and lockdowns occur throughout Europe. The possibilities for leisure activities are severely restricted, catering, sports and cultural businesses have to close and, as far as the framework conditions allow, people work in their home offices. Grid shutdowns are followed by consumer peaks, making it more difficult to maintain a balance between production and consumption, and the power grid becomes more unstable on a pan-European level.
Although the power supply infrastructure does not suffer any direct damage as a result of the bottleneck, there is sporadic damage to power plant and grid equipment due to the massive cold snap.
On February 20, the storm low Wotan forms off Newfoundland and develops into a so-called fast-moving storm, a superstorm with a gigantic wind field extending over 1200 km. The authorities issue a severe weather warning of the highest level. Within two days, the hurricane crossed the Atlantic, covering well over 4,000 kilometers, and hit the west coast of Europe with full force around noon on February 22.
The media report first power outages in France, southern England and northern Spain. In the next 36 hours, England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria will be affected by the storm with top speeds of 280kmh.
Around 80 million trees come crashing down on roads, rails, houses and power lines. The storm folds more than 1,200 high-voltage and extra-high- voltage pylons into an elaborate origami. In many places, there is major damage to the grid infrastructure and main components, followed by frequency fluctuations in the Central European power grid and finally frequency-dependent load shedding throughout the European inter- connected grid. The result is a Europe-wide blackout.
Blackout – Day 1
Due to the failure of traffic lights and street lighting, there are countless accidents and fires. More than 100,000 houses are covered or otherwise damaged, many roads are blocked by trees, branches, parts of facades and roofs, scaffolding and accidents.
The cellular network would continue to function for 20 minutes, but within minutes it collapses under the flood of emergency calls. Thousands are stuck in traffic jams, trains, subways, tunnels and elevators. Communication is enormously limited, the Internet is down, offline scenarios have never been practiced. Assessing the situation is difficult to impossible.
In industry, many plants can no longer be cleaned or cooled and are damaged as a result. The first hoarding purchases, conflicts and fisticuffs occur because card payments no longer work and cash cannot be withdrawn. Emergency calls are no longer possible.
Commuters can no longer get home. Thousands are stranded in train stations and airports, there is no information, the display boards don’t work, the Internet is dead. It’s storming, it’s dark and cold, and no one knows what’s going on. Total chaos breaks out. People with walking difficulties and wheelchair users cannot even leave many stations without help. Many children cannot be picked up from their daycare centers, and teachers are waiting with their students for the storm to end.
Psychological stress such as strong emotional tension, fear or insecurity can be causes of acute diarrhea. In public Whisky Charlies, restaurants and hotels, toilets very quickly reach their limits because the flushes and wastewater pumps do not work. Have you ever experienced completely clogged toilet stalls at an open-air festival? Well, back then there was still electricity and running water, but today the “brown Nile” finds its way through the hotel lobby, the train station and the airport concourse.
The deployment of the authorities is severely hampered by the power outage. In particular, the loss of information and communication resources is affecting communication and coordination. Although there is uncertainty about the extent and duration of the power outage, the authorities begin at 8 p.m. to inform the population about the emergency radio infrastructure and pass on behavioral instructions. However, they reach only a fraction of the population.
In Switzerland, militia formations with a high degree of readiness are to enable the army to deploy an additional several thousand men within 24 to 96 hours to support the civilian authorities. This is intended to provide staggered support and targeted reinforcement to the initial response forces. The concepts call for mobilization via e-alert and distribution to deployment sites according to reported needs. The emergency plans are as full of holes as a Swiss cheese.
Air traffic control with its radar systems and radiotelephony have a self- sufficient power supply, but if the airport shuts down operations due to the failure of passenger handling and suitcases, even this isolated solution for regular operations will not help. Pilots report power outages across much of Europe. Air traffic is suspended.
Commuters have to spend the cold and stormy night in the cities. Hotels, guesthouses and youth hostels also have no electricity, no heating and no running water, but at least they are sheltered from the wind. All hell breaks loose at the reception desks. The digital door openers are out of order, people are fighting first over the rooms and then over the beds. Most will have to spend the freezing cold night in the train stations, subway stations or even outside. Many will not survive the first night.
Hospitals are particularly hard hit by the power outage. They are being switched to emergency operation, as the emergency generators can only cover about 20-50 percent of normal hospital output. Priority is given to intensive care patients who depend on life-sustaining medical systems such as ventilators or dialysis machines. Patients who are not emergencies must be discharged. The supply of food and beverages as well as medications fails, while drugs requiring refrigeration, but especially blood preserves and organs, cannot be adequately cooled without electricity. At the same time, the influx of new patients increases enormously because doctors’ offices, pharmacies, nursing homes and other facilities rarely have an emergency power supply.
Emergency rooms are reaching their limits with the high number of patients. At the same time, hospitals in Europe’s largest cities; London, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Vienna and Zurich are being stormed by hundreds of people seeking protection. The security situation is critical. The emergency power supply lasts for 48 hours and the hospitals have an exclusive contract with fuel suppliers. However, there is no running water or functioning toilets here either. Where the emergency generator does not work, the consequences are devastating. Transfer to other hospitals or help from other parts of the city is out of the question.
The regional operations centers are very quickly understaffed. Most of the antennas of the authorities’ off-grid radio network only have a power reserve for eight hours, very few for 72 hours. In three days at the latest, all emergency power systems need new fuel, a new battery or mains power again. The basic police supply can no longer be guaranteed.
Employees of hospitals, prisons, psychiatric clinics, nursing homes, blue-light organizations, power plants, etc. do not make it on the night shift. The late shifts now have to cover the night shifts. In prisons, lockdowns are made, yard walks and smoking are discontinued. Showers and toilets in cells no longer work. In many prisons, meals are prepared and delivered externally. These are now failing. The riots are not long in coming.
In the countryside, many can heat with wood. But most communities and volunteer fire departments do not have emergency generators. Many farmers spend the night in the barn milking their cows by hand. In factory farming (piglets, fattening pigs, laying hens, broilers, fattening geese, fattening turkeys, fattening ducks, laying quails) heat lamps for the young animals, drinking water, air conditioning, ventilation systems and concentrated feed supply fail. The closed housing systems become a mass grave for millions of animals.
Meanwhile, in the cities, the first fires and CO2 poisoning occur because people are not accustomed to using candles and try to heat their homes by any means.
Blackout – Day 2
The first casualties are reported. The evacuation of the main axes, the rescue from accident wrecks, elevators, tunnels, subways and gondolas, the extinguishing of the fires and all this under extremely difficult conditions, demand superhuman from the rescue forces.
Only now can government officials be flown to secret command facilities. Using the emergency radio infrastructure, authorities issue behavioral instructions and request civil defense, army and volunteers to report to barracks, civil defense centers and soccer stadiums. However, fragmented (one-way) communications cannot meet the requirements of continuously coordinated crisis communications. Since mobility, communication and logistics are enormously limited, the storm is still raging and the event hits large parts of the population completely unprepared, it takes days for a fraction of the required personnel and material to arrive at their destination.
The legally required stockpiling of petroleum means that there are substantial fuel reserves available to meet demand even during a prolonged power outage. In Switzerland, for example, there are 60 such fuel depots, but only 20% of them have emergency power supplies. In addition, the radio antennas of most blue-light organizations now fail. Coordinating and distributing fuel deliveries on site in line with demand is an extremely complex task even with functioning communications technology – how sufficient tanker vehicles from mineral oil companies and logistics service providers are to be called up, coordinated and integrated without communications is a completely unresolved question.
Rail transport is of central importance for supplying the population. Once the tracks have been cleared and the switches locked, central rail lines can be made passable and served by diesel vehicles so that goods and people can be transported on a larger scale. In the wake of the power outage, the relevant authorities must work with rail operators to decide on routes and measures for emergency operation. This requires fuel and communication. The coordination of measures and emergency forces is confronted with almost unsolvable difficulties due to failed communication structures, states of stress and exhaustion.
In water supply, electrical energy is required for the pumping, treatment and distribution of water. Electrically operated pumps are particularly critical for the water supply. If these fail, groundwater pumping is no longer possible. In addition, treatment plants and the distribution system can only be fed via the natural gradient, so that significantly less water is available and higher-lying areas can no longer be supplied at all.
The reduced water supply also affects wastewater disposal: For example, the amount of wastewater produced decreases, and the composition of the wastewater changes. As a result, there is a risk that the highly concentrated wastewater will cause blockages and odors in the sewer system. Since the wastewater lift pumps are often not emergency buffered, wastewater can leak out of the sewers. Many wastewater treatment plants stop functioning after the second day. The loss of pressure causes sewer blockages and overflows, contaminating groundwater, rivers and lakes.
Another consequence of the power outage is the increased risk of fire – for example in industry due to the failure of cooling and process control systems, or in households due to attempts to cook, heat or turn on lights without electricity. Since firefighting is severely hampered by reduced or failed water supplies, there is a danger, especially in cities, that the fire will spread to blocks of houses, neighborhoods and entire districts. A race against time begins.
Because now people all over Europe are realizing that this is a bigger story, that every country, every region, every city, every village is on its own. Panic breaks out and sweeps across the cities of Europe like wildfire. Amid storms and freezing cold, riots, looting, rioting and arson erupt in the city centers and problem neighborhoods of Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
The supply chains for drugs and narcotics such as heroin, cocaine and amphetamines have also been interrupted. Now drug addicts, from junkies to bankers to members of parliament, are in withdrawal. These people urgently need substitutes and seek them in pharmacies, doctors’ offices and psychiatric clinics, even by force if necessary.
People need water, food, blankets, sleeping bags, gas bottles, flashlights and batteries. There is looting of shopping malls, hardware stores and gas station stores. The first demonstrations and riots break out in the major cities of Europe.
On a normal day, there are 480 fires in Germany. In the blackout with sub- zero winter temperatures, this number now shoots up to 5000 fires per day. The operation of the (firefighting) water supply is not possible in the long term without electrical energy and can only be bridged for a few hours by elevated tanks, if these are available in the network.
Blackout – Day 3
Without external supply, the emergency power supply also fails in rural regions and communities. This results in the mass death of farm animals. On the farms of France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland, millions of dairy cows have to be emergency slaughtered or put out of their misery; carcass disposal is only possible to a limited extent. Feed in Europe’s zoos is running low, orders are not possible, deliveries are not in sight.
Millions of people have no more water and food. The supply of drinking water becomes a real challenge and is only possible in certain places thanks to civil defense. The remaining supermarkets are looted, refrigerated products are thawed and begin to rot. The mountains of garbage on the streets grow and millions of rats in the metropolises come to the surface from underground, the hygienic conditions are catastrophic, crime explodes, vigilante justice occurs and fires become more numerous and spread inexorably.
The United Nations has warned of the destabilizing potential of disrupted supply chains and rising food, fuel and fertilizer prices. Risk consultancy Verisk also concluded that a rise in civil unrest in middle-income countries was inevitable, and insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) warned companies of an increase in civil unrest, strikes and violent protest movements in many countries worldwide.
In the system-relevant areas, fewer and fewer employees come to work, those who stay are completely overtired and exhausted, nerves are on edge, the error rate rises into the deep red range, drinking water supply and hygiene are critical.
There are traffic jams in Europe’s port facilities. Tankers can neither be unloaded nor refueled. The police cannot take on additional security tasks and the fire departments have also reached their capacity limits. Intervention in hazardous situations involving dangerous goods is not possible.
In most hospitals, the diesel supply is exhausted, the emergency power supply collapses without replenishment, without an external water supply, without a sewage system, without waste disposal, patient care and minimal operations are no longer possible. Evacuation or relocation is not feasible.
The situation in the city centers is critical, pharmacies are looted, violence and many fires are out of control. Riots break out in the prisons, fires are set, guards are overwhelmed, mass breakouts occur.
The situation is no better in the psychiatric wards. In order to ensure the care of patients, three times as many staff would now be needed as before the blackout, and this would also be the case at night. There is a shortage of food, water and medication. Hygiene is an imposition and the room temperature has dropped to 6 degrees Celsius. The psychotic, neurotic, phobic and depressive states of the patients are no longer manageable. The modern health care system, which has become taken for granted, completely collapses.
Out of desperation, the first groups join together to go on the prowl for food and valuables. The number of robberies and burglaries increases. Civil war- like riots break out, and social order collapses. The authorities try to maintain critical infrastructures. There is a mass exodus from the cities. Europe becomes a red zone.
Blackout – Day 4
The emergency power supplies of most institutions have used up their fuel. Explosion hazard in oil refineries. The oil in the plants is flared, flammable hydrocarbon mixtures are vented into the air to avoid the worst.
The lack of information and communication, the lack of fuel supplies, the poor hygienic conditions, the inadequate water supply and the uncontrolled spread of the fires make it difficult or impossible to secure critical infrastructure and supply the population. Hospitals and nursing homes are forced to suspend their services.
Now it becomes as dark as the last time 12`000 years ago in Europe. Only the burning cities light up the sky at night and are visible from afar. As the structures of the rule of law collapse, the socially strongest groups or their charismatic leaders now take over.
Blackout – Day 5
Incidents and critical incidents at nuclear power plants, refineries, tank farms and hazardous materials storage facilities are becoming more frequent.
In rural communities that have purchased their police services, residents are now organizing themselves into vigilantes and fire watches. Barricades and checkpoints are being set up. Info points and swap meets are set up in churches and gymnasiums. Vigilante justice is taking place.
In large parts of Europe, it is no longer possible to ensure that the population is supplied with the goods and services it needs to live. Public safety is at risk, and the states can no longer meet their constitutional obligation to protect the life and limb of their citizens.
Blackout – Day 6
Supplies for the army and civilian authorities function inadequately. Trust is going up in smoke and loyalty is giving way to a dangerous mixture of desperate anger and hopelessness. Large segments of the army and police are no longer willing to serve a government that is responsible for this indescribable misère.
To prevent intervention by an alliance of Russia and China, a military coup occurs in France, Belgium, Germany and Italy. Members of the government and party officials are arrested. In Switzerland, the original cantons and the cantons of Appenzell declare their independence.
Blackout – Day 7
Millions of people died of thirst in elevators, died in accidents, succumbed to their illnesses and injuries, perished in the fighting, were made homeless by the fires, and froze to death in the cold of winter or took their own lives out of despair.
Since the reactors can no longer be cooled sufficiently, several of Europe’s more than one hundred nuclear power plants are now threatened with meltdown.
From Paris, Nice, and Marseille to Berlin, Hamburg, London, and Brussels, groups are forming around religious or political fanatics. Clans and gangs take over individual neighborhoods, where the law is replaced by versions of self-appointed leaders and warlords. Neighborhoods are barricaded and guarded. Gasoline and diesel are pumped out of vehicles and gas stations; what the fire has not yet destroyed is now to be looted. Convoys of armed militias are now combing the urban areas and the agglomeration in search of food, water, fuel, weapons, medicine and clothing. Women are kidnapped like cattle, and anyone judged useless or resisting is killed.
Blackout – Day 14
The fires in the cities are slowly going out. 70% of Europe’s metropolises are destroyed. Civil war breaks out between clans, gangs, rocker gangs, political extremists and the fragmented army units. Epidemics break out. Tuberculosis, typhoid and cholera.
Very few farm animals have survived on small farms and must now be defended against hungry hordes. The countries of Europe are broken into a thousand pieces. Future uncertain.
Rumor has it that all U.S. troops worldwide have been ordered back home. After the events in Europe, civil war had broken out in America for fear of a similar blackout. China had taken Taiwan in a lightning invasion. Large fleets and troops from China and Russia were on their way to Europe …
The worst-case scenario DANTE’S INFERNO is based on:
- the Lloyd’s study Solar Storm Risk to the north American electric grid,
- the project report Digital Standstill The Vulnerability of the Digitally Networked Society – Critical Infrastructures and System Perspectives of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (in german language),
- on the publication of the Federal Ministry of Defense of Austria: Safe. And tomorrow? 2022 (in german language),
- the Trend Radar Blackout 21 of the Austrian Armed Forces (in german language),
- the national risk analysis of disasters and emergencies of the Federal Office for Civil Protection FOCP of the Swiss Confederation (in german language),
- the VSE Roadmap: Overall View on Security of Supply of the Association of Swiss Electricity Companies VSE (in german language),
- the policy publication of the Ministry of Energy Transition in France Sécurité d’approvisionnement en électricité (in French),
- the analysis Risque de pénurie d’électricité en Europe et en France of the French think thanks iFRAP, which is dedicated to the analysis of public policy (in French),
- the ISO EMERGING ISSUES REPORT by US data analytics company Verisk Analytics: A dangerous new era of civil unrest is dawning in the United States and around the world
- Allianz Insurance press release: Companies must prepare for an increase in social unrest (in german language),
- and the publication of the German Insurance Association GDV Blackout: Vom drohenden Kollaps der Gesellschaft (in german language).
Thank you very much for your attention
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