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Risk of power cuts this winter

France’s electricity needs outstrip supply at peak winter times, but this year it may be hard to buy enough in

THERE is a risk of power cuts in France this winter due to the closure of German power stations.

Leading consultancy firm Capgemini says in an annual study on European electricity: “There is a real threat to the continuity of electricity supplies during this winter and following ones because consumption peaks increase each year.”

A net exporter most of the year, France has to borrow, notably from Germany, at peak usage times in winter, especially around 19.00 on cold nights. However this winter Germany will have less to spare due to the fact it closed eight of its 17 nuclear power stations in the wake of the Fukushima accident.

Capgemini said whether or not there are cuts will depend on how cold it gets, how well the French power stations work and to what extent power is available to buy elsewhere – for example Germany may boost production at its coal-fired stations to help compensate.

RTE, the body in charge of France’s electricity lines network, will present a report of its own on this issue later in the month.

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