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Renewables, Nuclear Squeeze Out Fossil Fuel Power In France

Electricity generation from renewable and nuclear power sources in France jumped in June and squeezed out fossil fuels coal, oil, and gas, grid operator RTE said in its Monthly Electrical Energy Overview on Wednesday.

Thanks to the rainfall in June, hydropower electricity generation surged by 47.9 percent, renewable power generation excluding hydropower was up slightly, and nuclear power generation increased by 6.3 percent in June 2018 compared to the same month in 2017, RTE said.

This led to a sharp decrease in fossil fuel thermal generation—a category that includes coal, oil, and gas-fired technologies—by 46.9 percent in June this year compared to June last year.

France’s electricity demand dropped by 2.6 percent in June 2018 from June 2017, mostly due to lower temperatures.

Solar power generation increased by 13.2 percent, while wind generation dropped by 7.3 percent compared to June 2017, due to little wind, RTE said. Solar energy generated in June reached a record monthly value of 1,284 GWh. The rise in solar power generation in France has been continuous over the past five years. Between June 2013 and June 2018, monthly demand increased from 563 GWh to 1,284 GWh—an increase of 128 percent in five years, according to the grid operator.

Related: Is A Supply Crunch In Oil Markets Inevitable?

French electricity prices rose in June, with an average of US$49.43 (42.32 euro) per MWh. The prices, however, were the lowest in Europe, RTE said.

France, which depends on nuclear power for around 75 percent of its electricity demand, saw renewables covering 31 percent of its electricity consumption in the second quarter of 2018—the highest share since the 1960s, RTE said earlier this week. The rise was mainly driven by a surge in hydropower generation that met some 20 percent of France’s electricity consumption in Q2. Wind, solar, and biomass power generation also increased in the second quarter, the grid operator said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Lee James on August 01 2018 said:
    If the U.S. has something to learn from France about nuclear power, I hope that we are learning it. Meanwhile, 30% contribution from renewable power is none too shabby. 21% of that from hydro-power is more than I would have thought. 10% from solar and wind is a great start.

    Thanks for this article; French energy supply is a little quiet in the news.

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