Electricity Supply May be Strained this Winter

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Electricity supply might be strained this winter

ENERGY: Electricity transmission network (RTE) does not exclude targeted load shedding of households in the event of very cold winter

  • The coronavirus crisis has disrupted the maintenance operations of the nuclear fleet.
  • The summer made it possible to catch up to some extent, but RTE believes that the situation may still be tense.
  • In the event of a colder than normal winter, targeted household power cuts are not excluded.

As long as we have Electricity. Last June, the Electricity Transmission Network (RTE) published a study showing that there was a risk in terms of electricity supply for next winter. This risk was linked in particular to the disruption of the maintenance schedule for the nuclear reactors of the French fleet due to the coronavirus crisis. This Friday, RTE reassessed its outlook optimistically without however ruling out tensions in the event of a harsh winter.

The first effect of the health crisis noticed by RTE was rather positive since the electricity distributor had noted “a decrease in consumption. “ Not illogical since the period of confinement brought about an almost complete shutdown of the economy and the time was right. The second effect was more worrying, the crisis has had a “significant impact […] on the nuclear reactor maintenance program”, notes RTE.

Increased availability of nuclear power plants

The maintenance operations were rescheduled this summer and they “took place in a satisfactory manner” affirms the electricity carrier, specifying that he thus reassessed “upwards the expected availability of the nuclear fleet. “This is good news to which can be added that of an always declining electricity consumption at the end of the summer.

However, RTE remains on reserve, mainly because the sequence of events depends on random factors. The first is the weather. “The forecast analysis shows a probability of high voltage at the end of November or early December, in the event of an early cold,” warns RTE, which is counting heavily on the return of the reactors from the Flamanville nuclear power plant.

However, if the temperatures were significantly below seasonal norms, RTE explains that “the use of targeted household load shedding cannot be completely ruled out”, but eliminates “a risk of blackout across the country. ”

The second factor is of course the evolution of the health crisis and its consequences on maintenance or any repairs to be carried out on the nuclear fleet.

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