French grid calls for restart of coal plants

French grid calls for restart of coal plants

French electricity grid operator RTE called for EDF to recommence operations at its Cordemais coal power plants following a strike, as cold weather closes in on Europe.

Workers at the state-owned power plant went on strike on 11 January to protest against the government’s plans to phase out coal power generation by 2022 but were called back on Wednesday ahead of the incoming cold weather.

France’s energy mix has come under increasing pressure as the country’s nuclear industry experiences continued outages and opposition from government, which has led to significantly tight supplies during winter months.

In a statement, RTE said: “The weather conditions forecast in western France has led RTE to anticipate an increase in electricity consumption for the days of Jan. 17 and 18 in the region.”

“At any time, RTE may ask certain production plants to start or increase their production, including during the case of a strike, if this is necessary to secure electricity supply,” it added.

France relies heavily on electricity for heating during winter months, which means just a 1 degree drop in temperature increases power demand by 2.5GW, according to RTE.

Demand for reliable coal-fired power comes despite government plans to phase out the use of the energy source by 2022, which raises questions over how France will fulfil its demand in future winter months.

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