France is facing a series of challenges this year with its electricity supply according to a recently published report from the International Energy Agency titled “Energy Policies of IEA Countries: France 2016 Review.”
According to the recent IEA report, a series of nuclear power station shutdowns for maintenance this winter took 9 Gigawatts (GW) of nuclear power off the grid in France. This capacity represents approximately 15% of France’s total nuclear capacity, bringing about concerns regarding that country’s ability to meet customer demand. At the same time, reservoirs for France’s hydroelectricity facilities are at their lowest levels in ten years.
Nuclear power currently supplies the majority (about 75%) of electricity generation in France. Conventional generation, including gas, coal and oil, make up about 6% of total generation. The balance is supplied using renewables, the majority of which comes from hydroelectric power.
Electricity supplies have been sufficient (so far) this winter. However, the IEA cautions that efforts will need to be made to ensure that the aging nuclear fleet and shifting power supply in the country will not threaten France’s energy security.
This report by the IEA if available to read (for free) here.