the government’s three-step plan to face the risk of shortages this winter

Will we see, this winter, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the Minister for Energy Transition, make a point regularly on television, as her health counterpart had done during the Covid-19 pandemic? The idea, suggested by some energy experts who argue for raising awareness among the general public, could gain ground. “It’s one track among others”we underline in the entourage of the minister, who does not however want to panic the crowds before the start of the school year.

“The difficulties will be more or less acute according to three parameters”, we list in the cabinet of Agnès Pannier-Runacher, who is preparing her strategy to avoid any blackout this winter after the virtual cessation of Russian gas deliveries. First, the weather. What will the weather be ? If the season turns out to be very cold and long, the energy needs, especially for heating, will obviously not be of the same order.

Next, what will be the state of our gas supply? Beyond stocks, which now exceeds 80% – and which represents around a quarter of French consumption – will the arrival by pipeline hold? Knowing that these pipes, especially from Norway, the largest supplier, are not immune to technical problems. Finally, what will be the availability of the nuclear fleet? Here again, uncertainty dominates. Will EDF have the capacity to maintain its work trajectory in order to restart some of its shutdown reactors?

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In anticipation of the cessation of Russian deliveries, France hastens to build up its gas stocks

“In the event of a winter peak, difficulties would arise at the same time in gas and electricity, we underline the minister’s office. Hence the importance of having in September scenarios for anticipating a degraded situation coupling the two energies. This will allow us to determine the critical points and the best trade-offs to take. »

Erasure measures

In this context, the plan concocted by the government promises to be gradual, including several milestones depending on the urgency of the situation. With, initially, measures granted on sobriety and the voluntary withdrawal of economic actors from the network in exchange for remuneration, then – in the event of “orange vigilance”, and even as a very last resort – actions to limit gas consumption, and finally cuts that can affect both gas and electricity.

“This plan aims to avoid as much as possible coercive measures, such as rationing and of course load shedding”, However, we defend ourselves within the ministry. To this end, the sobriety plan, the scope of which leaves the opposition very skeptical, expects a 10% drop in consumption within two years. In this context, several working groups have been set up around the company, and the organization of work in supermarkets, administrations, digital and, above all, housing, in order to identify the roadmap to follow in order to achieve the imminent reduction objectives and longer term.

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