Last Updated on November 16, 2022
The head of the national electric grid in France said that energy shortages are likely to occur this winter, which will force the nation to ration. Global energy shortages stemming from the war in Ukraine, as well as production cuts from OPEC, have caused European leaders to prepare their citizens for potential winter energy shortages for months.
Xavier Piechaczyk, the president of the Reseau Transport d’Electricite (RTE), said that continued issues with the nation’s nuclear power system means that shortages are all but certain if France experiences a “normal winter.” If Europe does not get lucky with a mild winter, power cuts are likely, he said.
The nation’s leaders are hopeful that it will be able to import electricity if gas shortages cause France to fall below its heating demands, though other European nations are dealing with similar issues. European Union member states were even hoping to count on electricity imported from Ukraine, though the beleaguered nation has since stated that it may be unable to meet energy export targets as a result of continued Russian bombardment of key infrastructure.
In normal years, France is typically an exporter of electricity to neighboring nations. Almost half of France’s nuclear power stations are currently offline, however, due to maintenance and corrosion issues. The widespread issues with the nuclear power system have only added to the nation’s already mounting energy woes.
RTE is publishing a forecast of electricity supplies up to four days in advance, known as Ecowatt, to try and help manage the system, The Daily Telegraph reported.
“We remain in a situation of particular vigilance,” Piechaczyk said in an interview with Radio Classique. If it’s hot, you won’t hear about red Ecowatt. If it’s very cold, you’ll hear a lot of them, and if we’re in an average, median, normal winter, it will be a few units of red Ecowatt.”
France has been preparing its citizens for potential energy shortages for weeks. In September, French President Emmanuel Macron urged citizens to cut down on energy usage in order to prevent potential rationing. The French president revealed at the time that rationing plans are already being developed “in case,” they’re needed, and that “cuts will happen as a last resort.”
As of Monday morning, 32 of the nation’s 56 nuclear power stations were online. Energy officials hope to have another 11 back online by December or January, The Daily Telegraph reported.