“we are almost out of the woods”, according to the boss of RTE

“We are almost out of the woods” in view of the risk of power cuts this winter in France, said Saturday the president of the RTE network manager, Xavier Piechaczyk.

“Zero risk does not exist but I would say that we are almost out of the woods,” he said on France Inter.

“I can’t say it won’t happen, because we can still be faced with a huge bubble of cold at the end of February-beginning of March, but seen today most of the risks are behind us”, said Xavier Piechaczyk.

“We are not at all in the configuration of the risk of cuts that we could have envisaged in November if the French had not substantially reduced their consumption and if the winter had not been so mild”, a- he observed.

France produced very little electricity last year, the lowest since 1992, according to a report published Thursday by RTE. The country has been hit both by the international gas crisis following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and by extremely low hydraulic and nuclear production.

The latter, affected in particular by corrosion problems on certain reactors, reached its lowest level since 1988.

“EDF plans to gradually restore the capacity of its fleet but it will not be miraculous this summer, so we will gradually regain the availability of nuclear power by 2025”, recalled Mr. Piechaczyk.

“Next year it will be a little better, the year after even better and after the trajectories of electricity production will increase quite significantly”, also predicted on Saturday the Minister for Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, on France Culture.

“In 2023, we plan to commission two large offshore (wind) farms (at sea, editor’s note) that are Saint-Brieux and Fécamp, plus all the terrestrial renewable energies; we must continue at this rate. and even that we accelerate it a little”, advocated Mr. Piechaczyk.

“We will have more electricity production in 2023 than in 2022, it will progress in 2024 too, now there are a lot of things that affect an electric winter: the first parameter is: will the French going to continue to be sober?”. “The second issue is the weather,” he said.

Given these difficulties in electricity production last year, but also its forced contribution to the “tariff shield”, EDF recorded a very heavy net loss of 17.9 billion in 2022.

“The first shareholder of EDF, and the one who will become 100% shareholder, is the State. So we are behind EDF and we will support EDF, of course, because it must be the armed wing of our policy. “, said Agnès Pannier-Runacher.

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