French Power Gap May Accelerate on Nuclear Shutdowns, Grid Says via Bloomberg

France may be hit by a shortage of generating capacity a year earlier than forecast because of the planned closing of outdated fossil-fuel plants and two nuclear reactors, grid operator Reseau de Transport d’Electricite said.Power supply will be assured until 2015, from when as much as 7.6 gigawatts of coal and heating fuel-fired power generators may be phased out, RTE said today in a report. Last year the operator said supply would be guaranteed until 2016.

The capacity shortage will be 1.2 gigawatts in 2015, rising to 2.1 gigawatts in 2017 when two atomic generators at the Fessenheim plant will be shut by President Francois Hollande, who pledged to make the country less reliant on nuclear power.

France, which gets more than three-quarters of its power from nuclear, has imported increasing amounts of electricity since 2001 as demand outpaces supply at peak periods. Lawmakers say a German decision to shut atomic plants adds to the strain.

Hollande, elected in May, vowed to shut the Fessenheim reactors by about the end of his term in May 2017.

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