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France To Stick With Coal For Longer To Ensure Energy Security

France has extended a provision for electricity generators that allows them to use more coal in their operations in order to secure supply in the coming months.

The move comes as utility major EDF warned that nuclear power output will likely be below normal during the winter months as it is still fixing the problems that put several reactors temporarily out of commission last year.

Bloomberg reports that despite the allowance for coal use, the French government tightened the requirements for the operation of the country’s two remaining coal-fired power plants.

According to these, high emitters in the power generation sector would only be allowed to operate for up to 1,800 hours in the winter of 2023/24. That’s equal to about 11 weeks and down from 2,500 hours last winter.

Also, these generators will have to pay more for the carbon dioxide emissions they generate.

“Tension on the power system is currently lower than at the same period of last year,” the energy transition ministry said, referring to better output from wind and solar, and lower demand. “However, one must take all measures to ensure security of energy supply for the French in any event,” it added, noting the possibility of the war in Ukraine not being over by winter or the winter itself being colder than last year’s.

France, which has been one of the most reliable energy generators in Europe in recent years thanks to its nuclear fleet, is currently grappling with problems that have accumulated over years of subpar maintenance.

This led to the temporary suspension of electricity generation last year but that wasn’t the end of it. EDF is, as noted, still working on fixing all the issues while facing the challenge of summer heat compromising water used for cooling the reactors.

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The utility just warned this week it would need to reduce nuclear power generation for this reason amid forecasts for a few hotter days ahead.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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