France's power generation dipped by 2.8% in 2016

16 Feb 2017

According to the French electricity transmission network operator RTE, power generation in France dipped by 2.8% in 2016, owing to a 7.9% decrease in nuclear generation. This was offset by a higher generation from hydropower plants (+8.2%) and gas-fired plants (+61%, thanks to the new Bouchain CCGT plant). Coal-fired and oil-fired power generation also fell by 15% and 13%, respectively, to 7.3 TWh and 3.3 TWh (they remain marginal in the power mix, at 1.4% and 0.6%, respectively). Despite the increase in installed capacity, wind generation slightly decreased in 2016 (-1.8%). However, solar generation rose by more than 11% (average monthly generation over 1 TWh) and production from other renewable sources rose by 6.3%. Overall, renewables accounted for nearly 20% (19.6%) of the power mix in 2016.

Installed capacity in France increased by 1.7 GW in 2016, thanks to the commissioning of nearly 2.2 GW of renewable capacities (+1.3 GW of wind, + 576 MW of solar and + 215 MW of bioenergies), which offset the 488 MW decrease in thermal capacity (nearly 1.4 GW of fuel capacity stopped at Aramon and 563 MW Bouchain CCGT commissioned). Renewables - including hydropower - accounted for 35% of the installed capacity.

Where power exchanges are concerned, net exports stood at 39.1 TWh in 2016, their lowest level since 2010. Power exports declined to 71.7 TWh due to the lower nuclear generation, while imports increased to 32.6 TWh.

Final electricity consumption - corrected from climate and working days effects - remained stable in 2016 for the sixth year in a row; gross consumption increased by 1.5% due to lower temperature. Industrial electricity consumption remained stable, despite a 4.9% hike in the steel sector.

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