Europe’s energy sector enters a crucial period today and for the next few days as a result of the cold winter weather that has been forecast combined with maintenance and operational issues troubling France’s nuclear power facilities, which could lead to energy supply shortages.
Temperatures in Greece and other parts of Europe are forecast to drop by as much as 10 degrees Celsius this week, which will sharply increase energy demand for heating.
Weather conditions are not expected to be as extreme as they were last winter. Authorities have assured necessary measures have already been taken to a large degree.
Even so, the ongoing situation in France is worrisome. Throughout 2017, the country’s output at nuclear power stations has registered the lowest levels since the millennium. Nuclear power station capacity in France yesterday managed to climb to a level of 52 gigawatts.
As reported by Platts, the French power utility EDF has declared five units will resume production this week but, even so, was forced, once again, to reduce its output forecasts as a result of delayed returns to the grid of units undergoing maintenance work.
EDF’s nuclear power stations have generated electricity at an average level of 50 gigawatts this month, while, for the fourth quarter, output has fallen 14 gigawatts short of forecasts, a quantity equivalent to 28 LNG shipments.
Given the magnitude of France’s electricity production, as well as last year’s domino effect of energy shortages experienced by a series of European countries, stemming from problems at French nuclear power stations, all eyes are now on France.