Restrictions in winter, restrictions in summer. During the coldest months of the year, the French considerably reduced their electricity consumption, in order to save money, but also to participate in the collective effort requested by the government to avoid power cuts and load shedding. The bet paid off and we came out of the most difficult period with the arrival of spring… But nothing is decided yet. As franceinfo explains, the drought could in turn impact our electricity production, but to what extent? Should we fear blackouts or targeted cuts during the summer? In addition to saving water, will it also be necessary to save electricity?
In France, electricity production is based on several levers, in particular nuclear and hydraulic. The site recalls that the first represents 63% of French electricity production, when the second represents 11%. However, to operate, our nuclear fleet needs millions, even billions of cubic meters of water. Asked by franceinfo, Nicolas Garnier – general delegate of the Amorce association – explains: “Even if a large part of the water withdrawn is returned, the French nuclear fleet needs 13 billion cubic meters to operate”.
Will the restrictions on electricity be added to those which already concern the use of water? As a reminder, several departments are on drought alert, some in full, others in certain municipalities only. Four levels have been set up by the authorities:
Which departments are involved? Are other restrictions already being considered? First elements of response.
Summer is not yet here when the situation is worrying in many territories and strict rules apply depending on the level of alert defined:
For the time being, no restrictions related to electricity are imposed in the territories concerned by this drought alert. If around twenty departments are on the alert, others are already seeing their entire territory, or certain parts, being on alert.
Will the electricity system hold up in these territories and more generally in the whole country? Power cuts are mentioned…
“The summer period remains a period of trough in terms of electricity consumption”, explains to franceinfo Nicolas Goldberg, expert in the energy market at the consulting firm Colombus Consulting. In winter, the main pressure on the electrical system comes from heating, which is logically used much less during the summer.
And air conditioning in all this? If it is developing more and more in France, it does not exert the same electrical pressure on the network, explains the site. For the expert, it is therefore unlikely that the drought will cause power cuts in France this summer… But until when? “Not for this decade, in any case”, he specifies with franceinfo.