France, UK seen as trouble spots for power supply this winter



France and the UK are the two nations in Europe most at risk of power shortages this winter, particularly if there is a cold snap in early December or January. With availability of Electricite de France SA’s French nuclear fleet at the lowest level in a decade, the nation will need to rely on imports during several weeks and adding a cold spell to that could make the situation “tense,” according to European grid group Entsoe’s Winter Outlook report. Britain may face a power deficit in early January if temperatures fall below average, it said in the report.
The Entsoe analysis indicated that even under severe conditions, demand can be met and reserves maintained across nearly all of Europe, thanks to surpluses in most regions and available interconnector capacity. The UK potentially needs high imports from all neighboring countries in the week from Jan. 9. A combination of low wind and cold temperatures means there might be a deficit.
Delays to restarts of several French reactors undergoing safety checks at the request of regulator ASN will mean “significantly” decreased margins in the first three weeks of December. French electricity demand is highly sensitive to cold weather and a drop of 1 degree Celsius below normal can add 2,400 megawatts, according to Entsoe. Reseau de Transport d’Electricite, the French grid operator, earlier this month warned of an increasing risk of power shortages in Europe’s second-biggest market.

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