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European Power Hits Record as Extreme Heat, Drought Parch Europe

  • German, French power prices surge before winter even starts
  • Concerns persist for gas shortages with Russian supply curbed
Half-loaded barges pass each other closely in low waters caused by drought on the Rhine River in Lobith, Netherlands, on July 30.

Half-loaded barges pass each other closely in low waters caused by drought on the Rhine River in Lobith, Netherlands, on July 30.

Photographer: Peter Boer/Bloomberg
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Difficult summer conditions including extreme heat and drought drove European electricity prices to new highs on Tuesday, flashing a warning of an even more challenging winter. 

Rivers too warm to be used for cooling nuclear plants in France and water levels too low to ship coal to power stations along the Rhine are crimping European supplies of electricity. That means that countries are relying even more on gas to meet extra power demand instead of siphoning off the fuel into storage ahead of winter.