The country should continue to implement its ‘energy sobriety’ program to avoid shortages, Agnès Pannier-Runacher says
France’s consumption of electricity and gas has decreased by 12% since last October, when an energy conservation program was launched in the country, Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher said in an interview with the TV channel France 2.
As gas prices surged to historic highs during last year’s energy crisis and fears emerged of power outages due to the drop in supplies, France launched a conservation program – called ‘energy sobriety’ – dedicated to lowering power consumption by 10% by the end of 2024.
However, according to the minister, the country has managed to surpass this goal in half the time, which puts it “in a much better position than last year” and removes the risk of blackouts during the upcoming heating season.
“We are now at 12%. We announced it for the end of 2024, we did it in the first year. […] It is a drop in gas and electricity combined and it is corrected for the weather effects,” the minister explained.
She noted, however, that efforts to cut consumption further should not be abandoned so that the threat of shortages does not reappear in the future.
“We are going to stay on this objective. The challenge is to make the changes structural, so that we do not have to return to this objective and these habits that we establish take root… We must continue our efforts at sobriety,” she stated.
France’s energy shortages last year came amid the reduction of gas flows from Russia, the EU’s largest supplier at the time, due to Ukraine-related EU sanctions against Moscow, and owing to technical problems, including the sabotage at the Nord Stream pipelines. The challenges were exacerbated by the shutdown of half of the country’s nuclear power plants for repairs and maintenance.
However, according to Pannier-Runacher, France has since “gained the equivalent of five reactors in production compared to last year.”
Under the ‘energy sobriety’ program, the temperature in private houses and administrative buildings should not exceed 19 degrees Celsius and in warehouses it should be reduced to 16 degrees. Water heaters should be set at 55 degrees. The French authorities also approved a ban on displaying illuminated advertising between the hours of 1am and 6am and prohibited keeping store doors open when the heating or air conditioning is on. The time that stadium lights are kept on before and after matches is to be reduced by 50% during the day and by 30% in the evening.
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October 16, 2023 at 12:53PM