France issues a power outage warning

France issues a power outage warning

Grid operator RTE says January could see electricity shortages.

The national grid operator RTE warned on Friday that France faces a greater risk of running out of electricity in January because the country’s nuclear plants’ availability will likely be lower than anticipated.

A shortage next month is now less likely than previously anticipated, according to RTE, which has been providing updates on the situation every month.

RTE stated that although the situation seemed less risky in December and beginning in February, there are now more risks concentrated in January than there were in the previous analysis.

France, which has historically been a power exporter, may become an importer of electricity this year due to repairs and maintenance on nearly half of the country’s nuclear plants, grid operator Electricite de France (EDF) previously cautioned.

56 nuclear reactors in France produce roughly 70% of the country’s electricity. On Friday morning, there were only 31 of them online. By the end of the year, 15 units will be restarted by EDF, and ten more will do so in the first two months of 2023. There will be additional reactors that need to be shut down for routine maintenance.

To prevent blackouts, the French government has urged businesses and households to practice energy conservation. RTE will issue an “Ecowatt” red alert three days ahead of any potential electricity shortage, calling for reduced consumption.

According to RTE, the risk of using the Ecowatt system “appears high” in January. The grid operator cautions that it will largely depend on climatic factors, such as a potential cold snap or even a mild one.

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