RTE who are the French electricity network operator asked National Grid on Monday if they could cut their scheduled exports to the UK to cope with soaring demand between 8am and 9am this morning.
In recent months France’s nuclear power supplies have been limited and today France suffered further output issues amid the freezing temperatures.
Nuclear supplies have been hit due to delayed maintenance on their old reactors amid strike action in the country.
Phil Hewitt, a director at EnAppSys, said, “The French market was particularly under stress today. It was always going to be in trouble because of the reduced nuclear reactor fleet, the temperature is low and there has been a big demand spike combined with low wind.”
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Jean-Paul Harreman, Director of EnAppSys BV, told Energy News Live, “We have been analysing the tightness in markets quite closely over the past months.
“During the moderate weather, we have already highlighted the risk of a demand spike when temperatures would drop, especially in the period before Christmas, when nuclear capacity was still on its way back up.
“With recent revisions of capacity availability, we highlighted the potential of the market reaching the maximum import levels. Last year, we saw a highest import of 13GW into the French market, but this year there is more than 13GW of additional nuclear capacity offline compared to that period.
“At current demand levels, around 70GW, the available capacity, combined with interconnectors, will be sufficient to satisfy demand. If we get a very cold spell, however, demand could spike up to levels above 90GW.
“If that happens, there is a significant risk of the market not clearing due to a shortage of supply.
“If the interconnectors are maxed out, it doesn’t matter how much surplus capacity and how much gas in storage other countries have, it can’t reach the French market.”
On Saturday the Energy Networks Association warned Brits to “prepare” for possible blackouts after warnings have been issued that Europe is facing a gas shortage amid the war in Ukraine.
Millions of households must brace themselves just in case the lights do go out and the Arctic blast is bringing sub-zero temperatures with freezing fog, ice and heavy snow to parts of the UK.
The Energy Networks Association have warned Brits to “prepare, care and share,” should there be a blackout and keep all power banks full along with mobile phones.
Ross Easton, from the group, said, “Prepare by making a personal power cut plan, care by checking in with friends and family who might need extra help, and share this information so others can make a plan.”
National Grid have drawn up contingency plans where by they will pay people not to use certain appliances during peak times, but a spokesman did also downplay any imminent threat.
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