Energy crisis: what use will the Defense Council convened this Friday by Macron?

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The Head of State celebrates this Friday the first Defense Council dedicated to energy issues, while France fears gas and electricity shortages this winter in relation to the war in Ukraine.

Great meeting on the energy crisis. Emmanuel Macron meets this Friday morning at a Defense Council to take stock of the supply of gas and electricity and examine the scenarios to avoid shortages and save money. A council with multiple objectives, while energy reserves, coming from Russia, have been depleted and Europe prepares for possible cuts this winter, in relation to the conflict in Ukraine.

Information sharing and priority setting

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The first objective of this meeting is to allow all the interested parties, both the civil poles and the military poles, to share all the information they have on the energy crisis that France is going through, BFMTV learned from a government source.

This general review should make it possible to establish the strategic priorities that will be put in place in the event of grid stress or power shortages this winter.

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But beware: the council cannot decide everything. Certain decisions will have to be the object of a law, approved by the National Assembly.

Outage Scenarios

The aim of the council is to establish an action plan in case of worst-case scenarios, that is, if Russia cuts off the gas, if the liquefied gas ordered by France does not reach its destination, if France experiences a particularly cold winter and if nuclear reactors remain closed.

In the event that the bad news is linked, the council will have to determine in particular which of the two, the gas or the electricity, will be cut off first, knowing that the restart of a gas installation usually takes several days.

Another question: who will be exempt from these cuts? Hospitals, schools or food businesses cannot, for obvious reasons, be affected by the power outage, but should other institutions be preserved as well? Military establishments, public services, certain companies are mentioned in particular.

In the event of a cut, the Prime Minister assured that it would not last more than two hours and that it would only affect localized sectors.

A tense situation on gas and electricity reserves

Among the other issues on the table will be the issue of diversifying energy networks. In fact, having multiple sources of supply would make it possible to strengthen the French energy network and, in particular, avoid the risk of blackouts. However, this would pose geopolitical problems, as gas imports from Algeria to France could increase by 50% in the coming months.

The gas situation is currently tense in France, as Gazprom announced the end of its deliveries to Engie last week. On the electricity side, the unavailability of part of the nuclear park, especially due to corrosion problems, is also a problem.

Elisabeth Borne put pressure on EDF by asking it on Thursday to maintain its reactor maintenance program to prevent France from having to restart a coal-fired power plant.

Emmanuelle Wargon, the president of the Energy Regulatory Commission, for her part wanted to be reassuring on Thursday and said she was “confident” in the “possibility of spending the winter without Russian gas”, which only represents 9% of French supply.

Author: Mathieu Coache, Philippe Corbé, with Juliette Desmonceaux
Source: BFM TV

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