Friday, 14 May, 2021

Why the electrical blackout could be avoided


Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, days of the cold snap (about minus 6 degrees below seasonal norms), peak-hour electricity consumption (over 93,000 MW) exceeded production.

Electrical report of the week of extreme cold

France has an electricity production capacity of 129,000 megawatts. Last week, following the exceptional shutdown of five nuclear units, our country produced only 90,000 MW. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, days of the cold snap (about minus 6 degrees below seasonal norms), peak-hour electricity consumption (over 93,000 MW) exceeded production. The electrical blackout was however avoided. And this thanks to imports from neighboring countries (around 5,000 MW). If France had experienced a consumption peak similar to that recorded on February 8, 2012 (102,100 MW), the situation would have been more delicate but not insurmountable.

Because to do the welding, RTE, the operator of the electricity transmission network, has 2,500 MW of “load shedding” (manufacturers and individuals who contractually agree to consume less). RTE can also rely on other measures. There is a call for citizen actions to moderate electricity consumption. There is the possibility of lowering the grid voltage by 5% without interrupting the electricity supply to the households. This makes it possible to recover 4,000 MW. And in case of extreme emergency, the manager can also carry out load shedding. As we can see, RTE has a fairly complete arsenal. The blackout is therefore not for tomorrow. Especially since electricity consumption is generally decreasing.

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