French Power Use Slumps to 12-Year Low

French Power Use Slumps to 12-Year LowFrench Power Use Slumps to 12-Year Low

French power consumption hit a 12-year low last year as mild weather, a sluggish economy and energy-saving measures cut use, the country’s grid operator said, Bloomberg reported. Consumption fell 6 percent to 465.3 terawatt-hours compared with 2013 and dropped 0.4 percent when corrected for mild weather, Reseau de Transport d’Electricite, a unit of Electricite de France SA, said in its annual survey of operations. Despite a decline in production of 1.8 percent to 540.6 terawatt-hours, France remained Europe’s biggest power exporter overall.

France, the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, faces possible shortages at peak-demand periods in the next few years because of the planned closing of outdated fossil-fuel plants and two reactors, RTE has said. The grid is putting in place a capacity mechanism to mitigate these deficiencies.

French net exports rose to 65.1 terawatt-hours, the highest in 12 years, and the country wasn’t a net power importer on any day in 2014, RTE said. France is a net power exporter to the UK and all its neighbors except Germany. Renewable electricity made up 20 percent of consumption, with output from dams, wind and solar reaching 17.7 percent of the total, according to RTE. France had 9,120 megawatts of installed wind capacity and 5,292 megawatts of solar at the end of 2014.

RTE said it plans to invest 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) this year compared with 1.4 billion euros in 2014.