RTE warns of the “high” risk of tensions on the network in January

The availability of the nuclear fleet being today slightly lower than what was expected in September, the network manager warns for the beginning of 2023.

New alert on the electrical network. While many nuclear power plants remain stationary and the consumption of the French is being watched like milk on fire by the authorities, the network manager published an update of its forecasts for the coming months on Friday. And these are mixed.

According to RTE, on the battery side, the situation will be relatively under control in the next six months:extreme situations […] are not the most likely“, and “in no case does France run a risk of “blackout”, i.e. total loss of control of the electrical system“. This winter, only a few signalsEcowatt red– indicating extreme tension expected on the network the next day – are to be expected, in the worst case.

Another encouraging element, the fall in electricity consumption is confirmed every week: in its latest publication, the manager thus indicates that “electricity consumption in France restated for weather and calendar effects is down compared to previous years», around 5.4% over the past week, and 6.6% over the month that has just ended. A situation explained mainly by the significant drop in consumption by large industry, compared to previous years. “A downward effect is also perceptible in the residential sector (and to a lesser extent tertiary), but will have to be confirmed in the coming weeks as temperatures drop“says the company. Household sobriety efforts therefore also play a role.

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A major risk next January

So much for the positives. On the face side, the manager is worried about the situation expected next January, estimating the risk of tension on the network “raised“. The delays accumulated by EDF to restart the power plants play a role: “The availability of the nuclear fleet is today slightly lower than the central forecast of RTE at the beginning of September“, notes the company, which points in particular the responsibility of “social movementshaving halted the reloading works during the month of October“. The group thus expects an availability of the nuclear fleet reaching “40GW at the beginning of January“, lower than the latest forecasts of the energy company.

If the risk is minimal over the next few weeks, which seem to confirm RTE’s previous forecasts, in January the network will be scrutinized very closely. Several red Ecowatt signals could be sent to request efforts from consumers, but these will depend on “largely from climatic conditions and the possible occurrence of even a moderate cold snap“.

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