Bapiste Morin and Yanis Darras 06:24, December 07, 2022

The drop in temperatures is putting a strain on the French electricity network.

Faced with EDF's difficulties in bringing these nuclear reactors back into service, the country's infrastructure is struggling to meet consumption peaks.

If for the moment, France can count on its neighbors, the weather forecasts for the next few days make us fear the worst.

For a few days, the cold and winter have arrived.

Temperatures are below seasonal averages.

A problem for the French electrical system, very sensitive to temperature variations, as electric heating is present in the country.

Nearly one in three households is now heated by electricity.

So, with temperatures bordering on zero, France experienced its first consumption peaks.

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Another 20 nuclear reactors under maintenance

Since the beginning of the week, at 7 p.m., France has each time reached consumption peaks of around 74 GW of electricity.

If this consumption is not extraordinary for the season (the historical record being 102 GW), the state of the electricity network makes the situation delicate.

Thus, to meet demand, France produced what it could.

Nearly half of the consumption was satisfied by the nuclear fleet.

No more because only 36 out of 56 reactors are operating, the delays being linked to the other units still shut down.

Hydroelectric dams have also been called upon.

And then the two coal-fired power stations, Saint-Avold and Cordemais, are running at full speed.

On the other hand, it is difficult to count on wind power, which has only been producing at 10% of its capacity in recent days.

The fault of an anticyclone which deprives France of wind.

About 12 GW of imports

For the rest, France imported a lot and from everywhere.

Mostly from Belgium and Germany, but also from Spain, England, Switzerland and Italy.

Our power lines have almost reached their maximum capacity, with France importing nearly 12 GW at peak times, out of the 15 GW authorized by the infrastructure. 

This situation holds as long as our neighbors can export.

But the weather forecasts for the next few days in Europe raise fears of an increasingly tense situation.