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2010 Update of the Generation Adequacy Report

Source: RTE - DICAP 22/07/2010

The security of France's power supply should be guaranteed until 2013

RTE has just published an updated version of its forecast analysis of the electricity supply-demand balance. In this new report, which looks ahead to 2015, RTE confirms the conclusion reached previously in the 2009 study. The security of France's power supply should be guaranteed until 2013, thanks to the planned development of new generating facilities. However, vigilance is needed with regard to peak demand levels during periods of cold weather, which continue to rise rapidly.

In line with the missions assigned to RTE by the French Law of February 10th 2000, the purpose of the Generation Adequacy Report is to verify whether, over the long term, demand for electricity in metropolitan France is properly balanced with available supply in the form of national generating fleet and import capacities, in order to guarantee the security of the country's power supply. The Report, which is produced every two years, is systematically updated the year following its publication.

The 2010 update takes into account new cyclical and structural factors, such as forecasts for economic recovery, the development of thermal equipments (heating) and other specific end uses that contribute to demand peaks, and the rapid expansion of photovoltaic energy, as well as experience obtained last winter, which saw exceptionally consumptions during periods of cold weather .

The outcomes of this update overall confirm the conclusions of the 2009 Generation Adequacy Report. The security of France's power supply should be guaranteed until 2013, based on set projects currently under development. The period up to 2015 remains more open: the economic recovery and the rise in electricity consumption, coupled with the decommissioning of thermal generating facilities in Europe, could cut in the generation reserves in neighbouring countries, which contribute to satisfy peak demand in France.

By 2015, RTE estimates electricity demand will be 506 TWh, which represents a reduction of 10 TWh compared with the forecast established in July 2009. It derives from the drop in French consumption observed in 2009. Under normal meteorological conditions, the fall in demand for electricity by industrial consumers would lead to a peak load reduction of 1,500 MW for the winter of 2012-2013, and 1,000 MW for 2014-2015. However, under cold weather conditions with a statistical likelihood of occurring once every ten years, the peak load would only be reduced by 1,000 MW for the winter of 2012-2013, and 600 MW in 2014-2015, due to increased demand for electricity for heating (by heat pumps or convectors).

Meanwhile, the forecast outlook for generation supply remains dynamic. The prospects for the development of PV are now thought to be higher than the previous forecasts established in 2009 (with 3,000 MW of installed capacity now expected by 2015, compared with 1,400 MW previously). On the other hand, the cycle of investment in thermal generation seems to be slowing, with uncertainty surrounding the profitability of projects. By 2015, the commissioning of combined cycle gas plants currently under construction and the EPR reactor at Flamanville will compensate for the planned closure of some of the country's coal-fired facilities and the likely erosion of the CHP fleet. Both in France and across Europe, EU environmental standards will mean the closure of a sizeable number of the oldest thermal plants by 2015.

In France, RTE once again underlines the need for urgent investments in order to ensure the security of supply in the eastern part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region and the Brittany region, which situations remain fragile. The security of supply to both these regions is dependent on three pillars: increased demand side management measures, particularly at times of peak demand, development of local generation, and simultaneous efforts to strengthen the power transmission grid.

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