To address the challenges that France is experiencing within its electricity market, the European Commission has opened a consultation on the country’s proposed market reforms.
The Commission seeks to leverage the input of the private and public sectors in assessing the potential of the proposed plan to aid France in securing reliability of its energy supply.
The consultation is targeted at national, regional and local authorities, private companies, industry associations, small and medium enterprises, consumer organisations, trade unions, NGOs, environmental organisations, consultancies and, other stakeholders.
On the 28th of April, France submitted its market reform plan to the EU Commission in line with the EU’s energy market rules (Article 20(3) of Regulation (EC) No 2020/943 of 5 June 2020, which mandates member states facing likely supply shortages must adopt electricity market reform.
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The consultation is expected to help the EU Commission ensure that the French energy market is well designed and able to provide the right amount and type of generation capacity to meet demand from users. The Commission will also ensure that the reforms are free of regulatory distortions and are sufficiently connected to the EU electricity network.
“Capacity mechanisms should only be introduced to address residual adequacy problems that cannot be solved by removing distortions,” according to the EU Commission.
The consultation will be open from 17 May 2021.
Demand vs supply in French electricity market
Energy demand in France is outpacing generation with the country turning into a net power importer due to continued reductions in nuclear output in mid-April.
France, which is known to be the world’s largest net exporter of electricity owing to its heavy investments in nuclear power generation, saw significant rises in energy demand due to the cold weather fronts in mid-April. In addition, a combination of planned and forced outages in EDF’s nuclear fleet saw its generation at a six-month low. This pushed France to turn to Belgium and Germany for energy imports. Exports to Italy, Switzerland and the UK have been dropping significantly week on week
Whilst the country generates almost 71% of its total energy from nuclear, the French government is planning to reduce this to 50% by 2035 as part of plans to decarbonise and reduce reliance on nuclear.