Science

Sobriety to avoid lack of energy this winter – Science et Avenir

The war in Ukraine and the subsequent shutdown of Russian gas supplies, a dry summer that left hydroelectric dams at a minimum, and a nuclear fleet that currently has 30 of its 58 reactors shut down all fuel fears of energy shortages. this winter, especially if it is very cold. “Stresses in the grid supply usually occur in January, this year we should face them in November,” warns Xavier Pechaczyk, Chairman of the Board of the Electricity Transmission Network (RTE). 3This year we have limited room to maneuver,” agrees GRT-Gaz CEO Thierry Oublier.

But the two leaders don’t want to hear the word “shed,” a euphemism for “cut.” In their opinion, for us to come to this, an extreme situation is required, combining a very cold winter with a serious unavailability of the nuclear fleet and the disorganization of the European energy market, and the risk of a complete blackout in most of the interconnected European grid is strongly rejected. Both leaders, however, balance their opinions with a call for civic responsibility. The French will have to make a real effort to save on heating, lighting and even cooking.

Red warnings call for moderation

Therefore, RTE developed three scenarios. The most optimistic table for a mild winter coupled with the return of nuclear power generation to 50 gigawatts (GW). “In that case, you won’t hear anything from us,” says Xavier Pechaczyk. On the other hand, the “degraded” scenario combines a harsh winter with the low readiness of the nuclear fleet, entangled in ten-year checks of 18 of its reactors with a request for an extension of operation for another ten years, and corrosion of internal circuits was found at 12 other power plants. A situation that, however, needs to be addressed as the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has confirmed EDF’s strategy to address this big problem of aging some pipes.

Thus, the median scenario should be the most likely with an average winter and a conservative estimate of nuclear power generation at around 38 GW next November and 45 GW in January 2023.

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