In light of the setbacks experienced by EDF’s nuclear fleet and the aftermath of the conflict in Ukraine, we on Monday from the Ministry of Ecological Transition.
“If the Saint-Avold plant is not intended to operate in the next few months,” the ministry’s work with the RTE network manager “could lead to the conclusion that authorizing the on-time restart of the plant is desirable, temporarily relaxing the ministry,” the ministry told AFP. , “restricted” its hours of operation.
Ecological Transition Minister Barbara Pompili has asked the EDF to conduct an independent audit to identify levers to optimise nuclear fleet availability and restore electricity system profits. A conclusion is expected by the end of May.
In applying energy and climate laws, starting this year, coal-fired power plants are limited to 700 hours of annual production. The ministry recalled that the Gazel company has therefore started the closure of the Saint-Avold power plant on March 31, 2022.
With parts of the nuclear fleet unavailable in the winter of 2021-2022, to ensure winterization, restrictions on operating hours have been relaxed to 1,000 hours between January and February, and then over 600 hours for the remainder of 2022.
To allow Saint-Avold to restart, the government will “temporarily again ease restrictions on the operating hours of the plant”, as for the only other coal-fired power plant still open, Cordemais in Loire-Atlantique, according to the ministry, “in order to Secure power supply for the upcoming autumn and winter.”
“We therefore asked GazelEnergie and EDF to prepare for this possibility,” the same source said.
“Obviously, the plant is going to stop. Will it restart this winter? It’s the government’s decision. If we have to contribute to the safety of the power system, obviously we will mobilize,” said Jean-Michel Mazalerat, president of GazelEnergie, the company that owns the plant. Said on France Info on Monday.
“We have agreed to restart next winter, but we are waiting for a firm decision from the state, we need a decree,” Camille Jaffrelo, GazelEnergie’s communications director, specified in the evening, joined by AFP.
If it operates temporarily next winter, production will take place under two conditions: “No coal supply in Russia and full compensation for greenhouse gas emissions due to plant operation to offset the ‘corresponding climate impact’,” the ministry said.
The ministry stressed that, with or without the temporary expansion of Saint-Avold, “coal power generation in France will remain extremely low (less than 1%)”, according to which the plant could be operational next winter, “with exceptional circumstances, The overall trajectory of French coal’s exit will not be questioned.
President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to close the last coal-fired power station by 2022 — easily mobilized to generate electricity when needed, but also emitting large amounts of climate-harmful carbon dioxide.