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French strikes cut power capacity by 3.9GW

14 Mar 2017, 4.22 pm GMT

French strikes cut power capacity by 3.9GW

London, 14 March (Argus) — Strikes at French power plants have curtailed capacity by around 3.9GW. Most of the industrial action is scheduled to end at 21:00 CET (20:00 GMT) today.

Most of the affected plants are nuclear plants operated by state-controlled utility EDF — which operates all of the country's 58 units with an overall capacity of 63.13GW. Units 915MW Cruas 1 and 2, 905MW Chinon 1 and 2, 890 Dampierre 4, 1310MW Belleville 1, and 1330MW Paluel 4 have been running at reduced capacity since late yesterday or early today.

Overall nuclear capacity limitations amounted to nearly 3.6GW at around 12:00 CET, and represented the vast majority of limitations caused by the strike.

EDF's coal-fired 580MW Havre 4 stopped running early this morning, and fuel-oil 535MW Porcheville 3 went off line at 21:30 CET yesterday.

Transmission system operator (TSO) RTE also said that limitations to hydropower capacity amounted to 300MW at 10:28 CET today, down from 440MW earlier this morning.

All plants currently off line are scheduled to return to full capacity from 21:00 CET tonight.

Overall nuclear availability stood at 45GW today, or just over 71pc, but overall French power production still stood at around 67GW while demand remained below the 66GW mark earlier today, and France has remained a net power exporter since this morning.

The capacity limitations have had a limited impact on French short-term power markets, with the base-load day-ahead settlement for delivery today settling at €38.73/MWh, just slightly above the average so far this month of €37.93/MWh and well below the average base-load settlement in the day-ahead auction on the Epex Spot exchange at €51.16/MWh. At the time of writing, several products in the French intraday market, operated by Epex Spot, traded above their respective day-ahead settlements, but within day import capacity and easing demand for electricity prevented stronger price rallies.

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