France faces a winter of discontent as deep-rooted problems with its nuclear-heavy energy strategy raise serious questions about its readiness for the colder months.
70% of France's electricity comes from a nuclear fleet of 56 reactor, all operated by the state-owned utility.
It made France home to the world's largest fleet of reactor after the U.S. and ensured Paris was less exposed than its neighbors.
Due to extreme heat waves and delays in repairs from the Covid epidemic, more than half of EDF's nuclear reactor have been shut down recently. Just as the European Union faces its worst energy crisis in decades, French power output has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years.
The France nuclear relationship shows you all of the pros and cons of nuclear, according to the head of economics at Julius Baer.
It is a low carbon but not an economic one. It needs to be nationalized to make it happen. Sometimes a whole plant disappears for weeks and months, so that base load promise is not really there.
A harshly cold winter after a harshly dry and hot summer would test the country’s power supplies to the limit.
According to a report, the French Energy Minister said last month that all of the company's nuclear plants would be up and running again this winter.
Some power cuts during peak demand periods can't be ruled out according to the French grid operator.
Most of the nuclear power plants should be up and running by the end of the year. Things will be fine if you trust France's grid operator.
We shouldn't be too pessimistic about whether France will be able to bring these reactor back on time. The record shows they have been on time recently.
The price of French power reached an all-time high of 1,100 euros per megawatt hour in late August. The country may not be able to produce enough nuclear energy to meet both its own needs and those of its neighbors.
France lost its position as Europe's biggest exporter of electricity this year due to structural problems in its nuclear fleet.
Sweden was found to be Europe's largest net power exporter during the first half of the year. Analysts at EnAppSys warned that the situation was not likely to improve soon, as the country's exports had halved from the same period a year ago.
France imported expensive electricity from other countries.
Europe saved France from a big power failure this summer because of the power lines, according to Julius Baer.
The U.K., Germany, Spain and Switzerland all stepped in to help. He said that the past month has uncovered some of the political talk which was not always objective.France not only lost its position as Europe’s biggest exporter of electricity this year but also, remarkably, imported more power than it exported.
Power and gas prices will be capped at 15% next year in order to protect businesses and households.
This year, the added cost of electricity and gas for homes and small businesses was capped at 4% and gas at zero, respectively.
The French government's difficulties in facing down fiscal and budgetary battles are likely to be made worse by the extended subsidies.
Rahman said that much would depend on two factors. The success of the energy austerity programme is the first thing. The weather is the second thing. After a hot and dry summer, the country's power supplies would be tested.
Rahman said that the base case is that the National Assembly will be dissolved by the middle of next year, but only if the centrist alliance has a good chance of regaining its majority.
It's not a good time to prepare for an election.
France's ailing power output has renewed criticism of its nuclear-heavy energy strategy at a time when other European countries are turning to atomic power as a replacement for a shortfall in Russian gas.
Germany, which initially planned to shutter its three remaining reactors by the end of the year, decided to delay its nuclear phaseout. Nuclear energy is included in the EU's list of "green" investments, as the U.K. seeks to ramp up its power generation.
The senior associate for the French power market at Aurora Energy Research told CNBC that Europe has a problem with electricity if France has a nuclear problem.
In winter, they need energy from neighboring countries in order to satisfy their needs.At the start of his presidency, Macron had committed to reducing the share of nuclear power in France’s energy mix.
In France, Rahman said,Macron reacted angrily last month to suggestions that his "stop-start approach" to nuclear power in the last five years was partly to blame for the crisis.
In what was seen as a policy U-turn, the president of France decided in February to build at least six new nuclear reactor in the decades to come, with the option for another eight. The share of nuclear power in the country's energy mix was reduced by the new president.
France is attempting to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century.
Nuclear power has the potential to help countries generate electricity, cut carbon emissions and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, according to advocates.
Nuclear power is an expensive distraction to critics of energy sources. The environmental campaign groups argue that wind and solar should be the top priority in the shift to renewable energy.