France may restart coal-fired power station to avoid energy shortage this winter

The Local France
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France may restart coal-fired power station to avoid energy shortage this winter
An aerial view shows the Emile Huchet - GazelEnergie coal power plant, on February 14, 2022 in Carling, eastern France. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP)

The French government is considering reopening a coal-fired power plant in the north east of the country to avoid energy shortages this winter.


France's Ministry of Energy said in a statement on Sunday that the coal-fired power plant in Saint-Avold, Moselle, may be put into use this winter "as a precautionary measure, given the Ukrainian situation" and tensions on the energy market.

Though the plant was closed on March 31st, the decision to potentially restart it does not come as a total surprise. The government had not ruled out the possibility of re-opening the plant as a way of securing the country's supply of electricity in light of the war in Ukraine and setbacks in the nuclear sector.


Even though President Emmanuel Macron had promised to close all coal-fired power plants in France by 2022, the ministry reiterated that restarting the plant would still be "part of the closure plan," assuring the public that President Emmanuel Macron's commitment to close all coal-fired power plants in France "remains unchanged."

The ministry added that should the plant be reopened, electricity produced by coal would remain below 1 percent of that used across France, and that no Russian coal would be used.

The statement comes as leaders from France's top three energy providers issued a joint statement urging the public to reduce their energy consumption this summer in order to ensure adequate stocks for the winter. 

READ MORE: French energy firms urge ‘immediate’ cut in consumption to avoid shortages this winter

As of late May nearly half of France's nuclear reactors were offline, while international demand in the oil market has increased. However, French government officials have said there is “no risk of shortage in the short term,” though experts warn of potential "spot shortages," as in many cases it is not possible to substitute one type of oil for another. 

Other European countries, like Germany, have already decided to reopen their coal-fired plants in order to combat possible energy shortages this winter.


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