The agreement will allow the two states to “guarantee their energy supply”.
The two French and German heads of government signed an agreement on Friday in Berlin tomutual supportbetween the two countries in order toguarantee their energy supply“, at a time when prices are soaring.
Of the “concrete measuresare planned in particular for France to help Germany reduce its dependence on Russian gas via gas deliveries, while Germany will support France to “secure your electricity supply during the winter“, According to a joint statement signed by Elisabeth Borne and Olaf Scholz. France is for the first time in 42 years a net importer of electricity, due to the lowest level of nuclear electricity production.
Plants under maintenance
From 1981, France has always been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours, in particular thanks to its nuclear power stations which cover more than 60% of French electricity production. But since January, France has imported more electricity than it has exported because almost half of its nuclear fleet is unavailable due to scheduled but sometimes prolonged maintenance, or corrosion problems.
The level of supply should allow France to get through the month of December without any problem, but for January, there is a risk of cuts in the event of extreme cold, if consumption does not drop. The agreement signed with Berlin thus formalizes an effort already implemented since mid-November by Germany consisting in “maximize as much as possible the interconnection capacity made available to the market“, according to the text of the agreement.
In addition, Germanyundertakes to postpone the gradual exit of the remaining nuclear power plants until mid-April 2023 in order to provide additional volumes of electricity exchange to France», and to «mobilize all market and reserve generation capacities (…) to maximize electricity flows to France“. For Germany too, the turning point is historic because the country was very dependent on gas from Russia and must diversify its supplies by turning to the West.
Since mid-October, France has been commissioning a new export capacity to Germany “up to 100GWh/day”, according to the agreement. The gas that it will import from France will mainly itself be imported into France, in particular by sea. France has four fixed liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals while Germany has none, and it plans to have an additional floating LNG terminal in Le Havre.in winter 2023/24“recalls the agreement.
Germany is also installing floating LNG terminals, two this winter in Wilhelmshaven and Brunsbüttel, and three others “by the end of 2023“.