French unease at potential power shortages this winter have been alleviated by claims from the country’s gas power sector that there is sufficient capacity from the industry to sustain the country.
A record output increase from gas-fired electricity generators since the start of the month could enable France avoid rolling outages amid reduced supply from the country’s aging nuclear reactors, gas network operators said on Tuesday.
Reuters reports that French grid operator RTE warned that power shortages could force outages this month, as a result of nuclear plants being taken offline. France had pre-empted the problem by stepping up power imports from neighbouring countries.
GRTGaz, majority-owned by gas group Engie, and gas storage company TIGF, said in their 2016/2017 winter outlook that extra capacity and adequate stock levels meant gas supplies were sufficient to cover the higher output levels.
“In the event of a cold spell, existing gas infrastructure should allow suppliers to cover French (gas) consumption with a surplus of 680 GW hour per day of gas, equivalent to a daily average of 28 GW of electricity,” the companies said in a statement.
French nuclear safety regulator ASN has ordered state-controlled utility EDF to shut down and carry out safety checks on 12 of its 58 reactors, leading to market worries over tight supplies.
Thierry Trouve, Director General of GRTGaz, told reporters that output from France’s 14 gas-fired power stations was now regularly exceeding 6.5 Gigawatts (GW) and hitting 8.5 GW at peak demand periods.
Gas-fired power stations currently account for over 11 per cent of output.
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