no risk of “black-out” in France, even if winter promises to be “under vigilance”, according to RTE

In prospect of snowflakes and extreme cold, the question has something to shudder: would France have to fear an electricity shortage? Reassuring answer: even in the worst scenario, the national manager of the Electricity Transmission Network (RTE) always excludes any risk of “black-out” and of “Generalized loss of electricity supply throughout the territory”.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Electricity: between nuclear and renewable energies, six scenarios for 2050

Yet, as expected, the coming winter will require a “Particular vigilance” to maintain the balance between consumption needs and production capacities. This was already the case in 2020 and will in principle be so until 2023, in particular because of the maintenance of the nuclear fleet. “No scoop” compared to the point established in March, recalls Thomas Veyrenc, Director of Strategy and Foresight at RTE.

A special measure

A novelty, however: more and more uncertainties weighing on the electrical system, the forecasts of the winter will be made in several stages. The first communication from the national manager, dated Monday, November 22, mainly focused on the risks of tension between now and the end of 2021. These “ remain relatively weak ”, according to the report, based on weather projections. Two other notes will follow, one at the beginning of January 2022 at the latest, the other at the end of January for February; two months in view of which the risks “Appear higher on the other hand”. “We cannot exclude from time to time entering into situations of tension on the supply-demand balance, situations where production margins are not up to par”, acknowledges Jean-Paul Roubin, COO at RTE.

The first three weeks of January will depend on the cold, but also on the wind

Such a possibility could lead, for example, to the activation of a special measure. “Interruptibility” allows an immediate reduction in consumption at certain industrial sites under contract, in exchange for financial compensation. As a last resort, “load shedding” should also be considered. These cuts would target households in the same geographical area, for a maximum of two hours, while protecting users. “Sensitive”.

The first three weeks of January will depend on the cold. But also wind, insofar as wind turbines already constitute a significant part of the French electricity mix (7.9% in 2020). ” As our energy system is changing, other parameters than cold episodes must now be taken into account ”, emphasizes Nicolas Goldberg, energy advisor for Colombus Consulting.

You have 43.03% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.