Science & the Environment Energy

France: The blackout risk

17 December 2009
Presseurop
Le Monde

Le Monde, 17 December 2009

Is France in for a blackout? As the cold spell sweeps across the land, power consumption is steadily rising – which could cause a shortage, warns Le Monde. The French daily notes that “half of Europe’s electrically-heated housing” is in France, where 7 million households rely on the power grid to keep warm. Should temperatures remain below the seasonal average, the daily continues, we might be headed for an outage, since “France’s all-out nuclear approach (85% of electricity generated) is poorly suited to the winter peaks in demand”. As a matter of fact, the national utility Electricité de France has had to import several thousand megawatts from Germany. On the other hand, the Tageszeitung accuses Angela Merkel of being the “No 1 climate killer”, slamming the German chancellor, a self-styled “passionate environmentalist”, for heating the chancellery with coal and natural gas: although these are cheap energy sources in Germany, that costs taxpayers €71,631 a year and emits 4,715 metric tons of CO2 p.a.