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Analysis of the supply-demand balance for summer 2011

Source: RTE DICAP 08/06/2011

The forecast supply-demand balance for electricity in mainland France presents a low risk throughout summer 2011.

RTE publishes its forecast for the electricity supply-demand balance for the coming summer period, for the whole of mainland France. This study serves to identify periods where the supply-demand balance comes under strain; it explores the measures that can be taken by electricity market players and RTE to avoid any interruption in supply.

A significant and sustained deterioration in the current hydrological situation could lead to substantial reductions in generation output. But, in such a scenario, and for temperatures close to seasonal norms, RTE foresees no major constraints. It may be necessary for electricity suppliers to obtain additional supply from the European markets throughout the summer period.

Demand levels recorded in France during the summer period are far lower than those in winter, when electricity consumption peaks. Nonetheless, periods of high temperatures can lead to reductions in the amount of electricity generated, as power plants are forced to comply with environmental requirements. Also, increased use of air-conditioning and ventilation equipment leads to a rise in electricity demand. In summer, a one degree rise in temperature at the daily peak causes demand to increase by 500 MW, equivalent to the electricity consumption of a city like Nantes, with a population of 500,000. The combination of these two phenomena requires special attention. That is the purpose of the study carried out by RTE.

A heatwave, with temperatures 7C above seasonal norms would see both lower generation output and higher electricity consumption. In such a scenario, the analysis shows that in order to satisfy electricity demand in France, it could be necessary to obtain additional supply from the European markets at the end of July, and then between mid-August and the end of September.

A heatwave combined with an unfavourable hydrological situation would require vigilance, while the implications for the availability of the French generating fleet would need to be monitored closely and appropriate measures identified. Current information shows, in such a scenario, some constraints but compatible with cross-border exchange capacities for the first half of the summer. The study will be updated in July if necessary.

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