France warns of power outages
France faces a greater risk of running short on electricity in January because the availability of the country’s nuclear plants will probably be lower than previously forecast, national grid operator RTE warned on Friday.
RTE, which has been issuing updates of the situation on a monthly basis, also noted that a decrease in the demand for power is making a shortage next month less likely than previously expected.
“The situation appears less risky in December and from the end of February, but the month of January now concentrates more risks than in the previous analysis,” said RTE.
Grid operator Electricite de France (EDF) earlier warned that repairs and maintenance on almost half of the nation’s nuclear plants may turn France, which has traditionally been a power exporter, into an importer this year.
France generates roughly 70% of its electricity from 56 nuclear reactors. However, it had just 31 of them online on Friday morning. EDF has plans to restart 15 units by the end of the year, with another ten in the first two months of 2023. Some other reactors will also have to be stopped for scheduled maintenance.
The French government has called on businesses and households to conserve energy to avoid blackouts. In the event of a possible electricity shortage, RTE will launch an “Ecowatt” red alert three days in advance demanding reduced consumption.
The risk of resorting to the Ecowatt system “appears high” in January, says RTE. It will largely depend on climate conditions, such as a potential cold snap, or even a moderate one, the grid operator warns.