French grid operator RTE said the risk to France’s electricity supply from early January through the end of winter had fallen to ‘moderate’ due to higher availability of nuclear and hydroelectric power as well. as consumer demand declines.
nuclear power utility EDF has faced an unprecedented number of reactor shutdowns this year due to delayed maintenance and stress corrosion, reducing nuclear output to a 30-year low akin to Russia’s war live Ukraine hit Europe’s energy supply.
The operator said France’s nuclear availability is now forecast to increase slightly to around 45 GW by the end of January before decreasing again in February for the start of the maintenance season.
Meanwhile, electricity demand has fallen about 9% from the pre-pandemic five-year average, RTE said. The French government over the past months has appealed to households and businesses alike cut down on their electricity use equal to 10%.
“The consumption drop was larger than anticipated in the September analysis,” the grid operator said in its report.
However, there is uncertainty about the extent of demand destruction in the industry in the new year when companies will receive new prices and contracts, said Emeric de Vigan, powerful vice president of analytics and data firm Kpler said.
France’s TRFRBYZ3 early year baseload electricity price has fallen 25.8% since early December to a closing price of 331 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) on Monday, the lowest in the contract since late June.
RTE said future prices are now more in line with fundamentals, reflecting improvements in availability.
Nuclear power capacity peaked at 40 gigawatts (GW) on December 12, bringing supply to the top of the expected availability range, it continued.
Combined with the addition of water to hydroelectric reservoirs during the fall, RTE said, allowing hydropower production to reach near a record high of 16 GW in December, this has reduced risks in the region. the rest of winter.
Energy imports from neighboring countries via connectors have also hit a record level of nearly 15 GW in recent weeks, they added.
The RTE said that France’s gas reserve fill had fallen to around 85% after the start of winter near full, higher than in previous years.
They added that there is nothing to worry about in the early part of winter due to high gas supplies across the continent, but vigilance will be needed during the second half of winter and winter 2023-2024 in particular.
Underscoring the risks ahead, the EDF on Monday announced it was delaying the restart of some corroded reactors, in some cases, until the end of June.