'Likely there will be no power cuts this winter,' says French government

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 13 Jan, 2023 Updated Fri 13 Jan 2023 14:13 CEST
image alt text
An airplane flies past a high voltage electric power line pylon (Photo by Nicolas TUCAT / AFP)

French government ministers say the power cuts due to energy shortages are now unlikely this winter, thanks to increased production at nuclear plants and efforts from the public to cut energy consumption.


"I am confident about our ability to finish the winter, but we must be vigilant," Agnès Pannier-Runacher, France's Minister of Environment said on Franceinfo.

But she called on the French to continue efforts to decrease energy consumption, saying: "The sobriety plan is about getting through the winter, in addition to being a holistic strategy to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050," she said.

The minister added that such efforts - or eco-gestes - should not be made from time to time, and encouraged the French to continue to "pay attention to the temperatures in the offices, as well as petrol consumption, and all other fossil fuel consumption (which) is the cause of global warming."


Pannier-Runacher's comments came just a few days after France's Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire, told France 5 that "it is likely there will be no power cuts" this winter in France. The finance minister attributed his statement to the warmer than usual weather patterns and efforts by France's national energy provider, EDF.

The environment minister also signalled the country's decrease in energy consumption, adding that France had reduced its energy usage by "7 GW" or "the equivalent of the production of seven nuclear reactors." 

READ MORE: France cuts electricity consumption by 9% with energy-saving measures

Pannier-Runacher also referenced the country's ability to "pass cold peaks," noting low temperatures in mid-December. She said that the country "got through [the period] without any difficulty." 

The situation has also improved thanks to nuclear power plants coming back online, after many were closed for maintenance and repair work.

As of Monday, 44 of France's 56 offline reactors have been reconnected, according to AFP, who obtained figures from EDF.

On Thursday evening, EDF reported that "the nuclear fleet is able to supply nearly 45GW of electrical power to the national grid" and "the available power will continue to increase until the end of January." As of mid-January, the country was once again able to export electricity, rather than import it. 

Despite recent developments, in an interview on January 9th with France Bleu, Hervé Philibert, the deputy director of operations at RTE (France's electricity network) in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, said that it was "still too early to say that all risks [had] been eliminated."

"The situation is much more favourable than it was at the beginning of autumn," he said. "The situation is better because the entire French population is really participating in the game of 'sobriety' and the measures people are taking are working. Consumption is down by 8 to 9 percent compared to previous years."

However, Philibert cautioned that the French should continue decreasing energy consumption, "because if a cold snap were to occur, we could find ourselves in a somewhat tense situation once again."

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

The French government has encouraged individuals to download the energy forecasting mobile application "EcoWatt" (or to use the website) which keeps track of energy levels and alerts users of possible localised power cuts in real time. 



The Local 2023/01/13 14:13

Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also