Paris — French grid operator RTE cut its power exports to Britain by around half for an hour on Monday morning, and imported more from Belgium and Italy as it faced tight power supplies amid a cold snap, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.
RTE said that, as French power consumption was higher than forecast on Monday, it had activated a mutual support mechanism with neighbouring countries.
In the case of Britain, RTE asked its counterpart there to cut French exports by 600 megawatts (MW), which is around half of what had been expected, the spokesperson said. The export cuts happened between 9 am (0800 GMT) and 10 am and were first reported by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
RTE also requested around 300 MW more than expected each from the national grid operators in Belgium and Italy, Elia and Terna, between 9 am and 10 am.
No such measures were needed on Tuesday, the RTE spokesperson said.
French nuclear power giant EDF has faced an unprecedented number of outages at its reactors this year, reducing nuclear output to a 30-year low, just as Russia’s war on Ukraine hit Europe’s energy supplies.
Despite higher nuclear power supply in recent days, France is striving to avert power cuts amid freezing temperatures.
The RTE spokesperson said the requests for extra power supply to neighbouring countries were off-market transactions that take place before resorting to more extreme measures like power cuts, lower power supply or even issuing a nationwide alert for possible shortages.
Such steps are taken in the winter and sometimes in the summer too to re-balance the power supply in real time, and national grid operators need to ask their counterparts to adjust exports and imports because these are pre-agreed contracts, RTE said.
(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet, writing by Silvia Aloisi) – Reuters
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