France warns of winter gas cuts
French companies might have to reduce energy consumption during the coming winter, the government warned on Wednesday.
France’s natural gas reserves are nearing full capacity, Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher has told broadcaster CNews, but that this, however, might not be enough.
“The main players, government agencies and businesses, must reduce their consumption” of gas as well as electricity, because “the latter […] is very often produced on the basis of natural gas. In these circumstances, we must save both: gas and electricity,” Pannier-Runacher told CNews.
The minister said that France’s strategic gas reserves were 80% full at the moment, which meant they will reach 100% capacity before November.
But in a later interview with RMC radio, Pannier-Runacher said that full reserves might not be enough to avoid gas cuts and that the government was seeking alternative sources of energy.
The EU has been receiving significantly lower amounts of natural gas from its largest supplier, Russia, over the past weeks. This has triggered fears that the flow might stop completely as the bloc is preparing for its upcoming heating season.
France is less reliant on Russian gas than other EU countries, neighboring Germany in particular, as it generates around three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear power. However multiple nuclear plants were recently shut for maintenance and checks. Unusually hot weather has also affected power generation, with the nation’s largest utility, Electricite de France, saying on Tuesday that some of its power stations will likely produce less electricity in the coming days because high water temperatures in rivers are restricting its ability to cool the plants.
France’s industries rely heavily on natural gas and millions of households use it for heating.
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