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French power spikes on cold snap, RTE calls for reduced consumption


RTE asks users to reduce consumption April 4

Demand set to reach 73 GW, nuclear at 31 GW

April 4 baseload traded April 1 at Eur840/MWh

  • Author
  • Andreas Franke
  • Editor
  • Henry Edwardes-Evans
  • Commodity
  • Coal Electric Power Energy Transition Natural Gas

French day-ahead electricity prices were set to spike April 3 on forecast peak demand of 73 GW April 4 after grid operator RTE called on large consumers to reduce consumption.

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RTE issued a rare orange alert April 2, seeking demand reductions from industrial and commercial users between 0700 and 1000 CET April 4.

Domestic generation April 4 was seen maxed out at 65 GW with an estimated 11 GW of imports during peak hours required to meet demand.

Baseload power for April 4 traded as high as Eur840/MWh on EEX on April 1.

The day-ahead auction for April 3 settled at Eur292.65/MWh with Sunday's demand peaks much lower, Epex Spot data showed.

France's nuclear fleet has been hit by unprecedented outages this winter with half of its 56 reactors currently unavailable.

French nuclear output fell below 30 GW April 2 as the Chinon 1 reactor went on annual maintenance, before picking up to 31.3 GW April 3, grid data showed.

Meanwhile EDF planned to restart its Nogent 2 and Gravelines 6 reactors before April 4.

A strong wind forecast for April 4 was also set to boost imports from wind-rich markets Germany, Great Britain and Spain.

French wind production itself was forecast to average 6 GW April 4 compared to 39 GW in Germany, 14 GW in Britain and 12 GW in Spain, data from EuroWind showed.

Gas generation in France peaked at 6.2 GW April 3 with hydro offering further flexibility, peaking around 9 GW during working day peaks.

The contribution from coal, meanwhile, has been reduced to just one 600 MW unit at Cordemais.

Operator EDF said April 1 the unit would remain online to April 5 due to the tense demand/supply situation.

The 600 MW Emile Huchet 6 coal plant shut March 31, while unit 4 at Cordemais is undergoing planned maintenance.

The plant in Western France is set to remain online for at least another two winter seasons for security of supply reasons amid delays to EDF's new EPR reactor at Flamanville.

Temperatures were forecast to rise rapidly from April 5 easing the supply crunch.

Further out, EDF postponed start of annual maintenance at Gravelines 5 by another week to April 16, while the return from maintenance for the Belleville 1 reactor was delayed by 12 days to May 2.

French nuclear production is forecast to average around 30 GW for the next six months, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights.