France to support Belgian energy security despite own potential shortages

France is to support under-pressure Belgium’s energy grid this winter, despite potentially having power shortages of its own.

Belgium is facing a shortage due to nuclear reactor stoppages by Electrabel and although France itself may have to rely in imports to overcome peak periods, it is still in a position to export to its neighbour.

Nuclear and thermal-power production will be lower than last winter while demand should be stable, Reseau de Transport d’Electricite said today in a report. France may rely on power imports to meet morning demand in January and in the event of a cold spell.

France gets about three-quarters of its power from Electricite de France SA’s 58 atomic reactors, and households rely more on electrical power than in neigbouring countries. The country is facing possible shortages in the coming few years because of the planned closing of outdated fossil-fuel plants and two reactors, RTE has said.

This cold season, capacity will be 2400 MW lower than last winter because of less atomic capacity and the shutdown of fossil-fuel plants, according to RTE. France may have to import 4300 MW at the end of January in the event of a cold snap and as much as 1400 MW to meet morning demand during that month.

A 1-degree drop in temperature from the average can lead to a 2,300-megawatt jump in demand at the peak evening time of 7 p.m., RTE said.

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