France’s energy regulator RTE said last week that France is at medium risk of experiencing blackouts since mid-December. Because the temperatures will drop dramatically.
In September, RTE had already indicated that the risk of blackouts in France this winter was low, with most expected in January.
Risk assessment has fluctuated in recent months Strikes and protests Workers in the energy sector and maintenance work in nuclear power plants.
In its latest update on Friday (November 18), RTE now assumes “low risk” for the end of November and “medium risk” for the first half of December.
Moderate temperatures and lower consumption
So far mild temperatures and low consumption also mean that the French nuclear fleet is not under much pressure at the moment.
At the end of October, RTE recorded a 5-7 percent decrease in consumption to 47 gigawatts (GW) compared to average values for the same period between 2014 and 2019.
This decline was partly attributed to industry, particularly the chemical industry, which saw an 11-13 percent drop in electricity consumption due to higher prices.
However, RTE calls for this drop in consumption to be viewed “cautiously” given the “strong anomalies” in temperatures, which average 3.5°C above seasonal averages from 2014 to 2019.
However, an analysis of energy consumption and the impact of policies to reduce consumption this year has proven difficult to measure. In addition, the French government is easing some of the rising energy prices with the help of “tariff protection.”
In addition, the mild temperatures allowed homes and businesses to turn on their heating systems at a later time.
Decreased availability of nuclear energy
Nuclear availability is “slightly below the baseline forecast for early September” and at 31 gigawatts is currently “less than 10 gigawatts below the historical minimum for this time of year,” according to RTE’s latest forecast, which also notes that lower consumption is making up for the decline in availability.
This is due to strikes and protests last month, which have caused delays in the maintenance schedule, as well as technical problems unrelated to stress corrosion investigations and repairs, which are “proceeding properly,” RTE asserts.
However, availability is just below RTE’s September projections and is within range of targets set for September.
Electricity from hydroelectric power and gas
At the same time, the filling of the pump store is “satisfactory” and “corresponds to the average for past years”.
However, there are still certain differences between regions.
Gas stocks are “extremely high,” with storage levels over 95 percent in the European Union, 99 percent in France, and 100 percent in Germany. Given the mild winter temperatures, the withdrawal hasn’t really started yet.
In France, restarting the Saint-Avold coal-fired power plant will also provide an additional 1.8 GW while Partial assignment The power connection between Italy and France (Savoie-Piémont) will provide an additional 600 megawatts.
Medium risk in December
Given the mild temperatures, it is unlikely that RTE will launch a so-called “Ecowatt system” at the end of November, which alerts consumers of mitigation measures to take in the event of a power outage.
A “moderate” risk of blackouts is expected in early December, depending on weather and delays in reactor maintenance.
“These different elements mean that the quantitative analysis of risk remains unchanged, with particular attention now being paid to January,” RTE said.
Read the original French article over here.
[Bearbeitet von Alice Taylor]