Euro 2020 Final causes major spike in electricity demand

News, Sport

  • England v Italy in Euro 2020 Final led to one of the biggest electricity surges in modern times.
  • The Euro 2020 semi-final match saw a surge of 1800MW at half-time.
  • Pick-up was on a par with the televised Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
  • England-Germany match required the same power as the 2011 Royal Wedding of William and Kate (1600MW).
  • England v West Germany 1990 (2,800MW) just 200MW behind 1999 Solar Eclipse.

With the TV audience of Sunday’s Euro 2020 final peaking at 30.95 million, it produced yet another staggering spike in demand for electricity.

As the nation collectively sat down to watch England’s heartbreak unfold, demand for power skyrocketed by 1800MW at half-time, 1200MW at the end of 90 minutes, and another 500MW at the end of the game, making England’s eagerly-awaited clash with Italy one of the biggest TV moments in terms of electricity pick-up in modern times.

Forecasts prior to the match had suggested a pick-up of 2000MW was in reach, with millions of litres of water (via pumped storage) standing ready at Dinorwig, ready to be deployed in order for people to make their half-time cup of tea. 

Broadcast on both the BBC and ITV, the combined viewing figure made it the highest TV audience since the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, while requiring the same levels in demand as Lady Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles in the summer of ‘81.

Research by OLBG shows the England-West Germany match-up at the 1990 World Cup still accounts for the biggest sports-related pick-up since records began, falling just 200MW short of the 1999 Solar Eclipse.

The Three Lions’ quarter-final thrashing of Ukraine registered a 960MW pick-up at half-time, which was good enough for 22nd in our rankings – the equivalent of 190 million light bulbs, or 530,000 kettles – while that figure climbed to 1400MW at half-time of England’s semi-final match-up against the Danes.

Prior to that, a 55-year wait for a win over Germany at a major tournament ended with a 2-0 win for England in their round of 16 tie, with the national control room confirming a 1GW pick-up at half-time and 1.6GW at full-time, surpassing the grid operator’s best guess of 900MW beforehand. That is the equivalent of 320 million light bulbs, or 888,000 simultaneously boiling kettles.

Demand for electricity during England’s last 16 tie against Germany at Euro 2020

Geoff Hurst’s infamous hat-trick goal and the words “They think it’s all over…. It is now!” in England’s last major tournament win in 1966 – a 4-2 victory over West Germany at Wembley – accounted for a modest 600MW spike, while the regular Thursday night ‘Clap for Carers’ last year saw peak pick-up of 800MW.

Graph plotting demand during the infamous 1996 World Cup final


Chris Price
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