February 12, 2020 / 10:06 AM / 15 days ago

French 2019 power consumption lowest in a decade -grid operator

PARIS, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Improved energy efficiency and less reliance on heavy industry saw France’s electricity consumption fall to its lowest level in a decade last year, grid operator RTE reported on Wednesday.

CO2 emissions from the electricity sector fell 6%, it said in its yearly report.

Electricity consumption fell to 473 terrawatt hours (TWh) and the profile of supply changed as gas-fired generation rose by 24% while coal-fired supply fell by 72%.

Nuclear output, which covers around 75% of France’s electricity needs, fell 3.5% partly due to increased outages. Hydro power generation fell 12% due to prolonged dry weather.

“This drop in CO2 emissions can be explained by a marked decline in thermal (power) production from coal fuel as well as increased production of electricity from wind and solar sources,” RTE said.

France plans to phase out its remaining coal-fired power plants by 2022.

Power generation from wind rose 21.2% while solar production was up 7.8%, RTE said.

France remained Europe’s leading net exporter of electricity despite a drop in output, it said, with exports of 84 TWh and imports of 28.3 TWh. (Reporting by Bate Felix; editing by Jason Neely)

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