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FRANCE AND RUSSIA

Macron says France to do without Russian gas

President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that France aims to manage without Russian gas as soon as possible with no early end to the war in Ukraine in sight.

French President Emmanuel Macron reviews troops during the Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2022.
French President Emmanuel Macron reviews troops during the Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris on July 14, 2022. Photo: SARAH MEYSSONNIER / POOL / AFP

Accusing Moscow of using energy deliveries to the West as “a weapon of war”, Macron said in a TV interview that France was already diversifying the sources of its energy supplies, and building stocks ahead of next winter.

“Russia has already started to cut off gas supplies” by closing the Nordstream 1 pipeline, he told the TF1 channel, referring to Russia’s interruption of supplies which it said was for maintenance reasons.

“That’s a very clear message: It will use gas as a weapon of war,” he said.

“We will need to do without Russian gas completely.”

France is estimated to receive less than 20 percent of its total gas imports from Russia.

Transitioning away from Russian energy meant that “the summer and the start of the autumn will probably be very tough”, Macron warned.

Even in the event of prolonged conflict in Ukraine, Macron said that France would continue to help Kyiv defend itself against Moscow while also sticking with sanctions against Russia.

“We want to stop this war without going to war ourselves,” he said.

France was boosting gas supplies from Norway, Qatar, Algeria and the United States, Macron said, and building up gas reserves which will “be near 100 percent by the autumn”.

‘Solidarity’

Noting that France’s energy use had already “diminished a little” compared to a year earlier, Macron called on authorities, consumers and industry to save energy and eliminate sources of energy waste.

“We need to enter a collective logic of restraint,” Macron said.

The government would serve as an example for private-sector actors “by making sure that we consume less energy”.

He said “this restraint will require solidarity from our fellow citizens”.

Using less energy was a good thing both “for the climate and also for our energy independence”.

Macron also confirmed that France would invest more in the nuclear energy sector, which currently provides around 70 percent of the country’s electricity needs.

“Nuclear energy is a sustainable solution,” he said, “both for France and for other countries”.

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ENERGY

French electricity network says no power cuts before the end of the year

The head of France's electricity transmission network has assured the public that power cuts are not expected before the end of the year, although they remain a slim possibility for the start of 2023.

French electricity network says no power cuts before the end of the year

No power cuts in France before the end of the year, assured Jean-Paul Roubin, the head of France’s electricity transmission network (RTE) and high-voltage lines, speaking to BFMTV on Wednesday.

Roubin answered questions about the possibility of “load-shedding” (délestages) in France this winter. 

“Before the end of the year, there will not be any power cuts,” Roubin told BFMTV, adding that “At the beginning of next year, we should not panic” and that RTE is preparing by testing a number of “possible scenarios.”

READ MORE: What households in France can expect in the event of power cuts

Roubin also explained that should power cuts occur, they would remain “limited,” reiterating that the population concerned by the load-shedding event would be warned at least one day in advance. 

You can learn more about what to expect if you are set to be impacted by a French power cut HERE.

READ MORE: ‘Ecowatt’: How to use France’s new energy forecasting website and app

People across France had begun to worry about possible power cuts before the new year, as “Ecowatt” – France’s energy forecasting website and application – is likely to activate the “orange” alert (symbolising that the grid is strained at that people are encouraged to decrease energy consumption) either this weekend or early next week due to cold temperatures. 

Should the “orange” alert be put into place, it would mark the first time since April 4th. However, Roubin told BFMTV that he did not foresee any blackouts ahead of this weekend. 

Roubin also congratulated the French for a drop in energy consumption. “There is good news to take into account, such as the drop in consumption by more than six percent to 8.3 percent in the last week alone,” the RTE boss said, signaling the role industries and businesses had played in this.

According to public officials, France needs to decrease its energy consumption by ten percent this year to avoid power cuts. 

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