For the first time in months, France is a net exporter of electricity as a result of a mild winter, increased wind power generation and the restart of several nuclear reactors.
Despite the threat of blackouts due to the energy crisis, there have been no blackouts in France this winter.
Restarting nuclear reactors, a mild winter and favorable winds mean France exports more electricity to its European neighbors than it imports.
“We consume less because of the weather, but also because of energy sobriety and economic activity. We are at minus 8.5 percent, even in normal temperatures,” Thomas Veyrenc of French energy regulator RTE told franceinfo.
“As of January 1, the net electricity export balance stands at 1.4 terawatt hours,” adds RTE.
This is equivalent to the energy consumed by 450,000 households over a year.
With low nuclear generation, France is a net importer of electricity for almost the entire year (except February, May and since the end of December), which has not happened in 42 years.
Historically Europe’s leading electricity exporter, France has had to import electricity from Spain, Germany and the UK to avoid blackouts.
Under pressure from the government, EDF is working to bring 14 reactors back online from November 1.
With 44 reactors reconnected out of 56, France’s nuclear power availability has reached 73.7%, a level not reached since February 2022, according to EDF data.
However, the availability of the nuclear park should be “reduced again from February”, RTE noted in late December, while six reactors are due to be shut down in 2023 for corrosion work.