Europe has sufficient electricity generation capacity to meet normal and severe demand this winter "even if the situation in France will be tense," transmission system operator group Entso-e said Tuesday in its Winter Outlook Report 2016-17.
The report assesses generation adequacy across 35 synchronously-connected electricity markets in continental Europe including Turkey.
France is undergoing the lowest nuclear power availability in 10 years, with safety test decisions by French nuclear safety authority ASN leading to additional nuclear outages lasting for several weeks this winter, Entso-e said.
Capacity margins in France "will decrease significantly in the first three weeks of December," with the country dependent on imports during this time. French adequacy risks then re-emerge in the second week of January if temperatures drop.
"Adequacy risk is assessed at 4% in the Weeks 49 to 51 of December compared to 3% in Week 2 of January," it said.
"Risk can occur in the event of cold waves at least 3 degrees C[elsius] below normal temperatures in December and 5 degrees C below normal temperatures in January," Entso-e said, noting up to 2.4 GW load sensitivity in France per 1 C fall in temperatures.
French transmission system operator RTE had contracted emergency load reduction in place in case of shortages, the report said.
"Moreover, RTE can drop the voltage for several hours by 5% to lower the load and to maintain adequacy," it said. "Eventually, in the worst and unlikely case, RTE could curtail load locally in a preventive way to secure the system." Furthermore, TSO coordination through Regional Security Coordinators would monitor generation adequacy "and address additional countermeasures at regional level that might be required to ensure a secure operation of the power system," the report said.
KNOCK-ON EFFECTS FOR BRITAIN
Great Britain's adequacy might be affected by the French situation, with the UK needing high imports "from all neighboring countries," Entso-e said.
Under extreme conditions Great Britain had additional capacity from open cycle gas turbines and pump-storage plants that it could call on, it said.
"National Grid also expects there will be excess volumes of Short Term Operating Reserve (which can also be used," Entso-e said.
Under normal conditions, Week 50 in Great Britain had the lowest forecast remaining capacity (1.49 GW). Under severe conditions, Week 3 had the lowest remaining capacity (-2.60 GW), the report noted.
"This can be managed by imports from Interconnectors, Supplemental Balancing Reserve (SBR) and we would expect the market to respond as well," it said.
Week 52 night times in Great Britain, meanwhile, had the lowest downward regulation capabilities (4.27 GW) due to low load around Christmas.
For Germany the risk was of regulating oversupply, not undersupply of electricity.
"The period around Christmas could be critical due to a massive oversupply of the German control area," the report said.
"This could result in strong negative prices for electricity and could contribute to a high upward frequency deviation. In such an event, the German demand for negative control reserve might not be covered by the usually procured reserves," it said.
Increased reserves would be procured and the ability to reduce wind output extended during this period. Exports would also ease oversupply at times of minimum demand. Nevertheless, on Sunday mornings when demand dips Germany expects "a great amount of excess generation" that will require TSOs to down-regulate renewable power surpluses.
"In situations of high RES feed-in in the north and high load in the south of Germany, the need of remedial actions is expected to maintain (n-1) security on internal lines and on interconnectors," the report said.
While high levels of German nuclear outages were foreseen at the end of the year/beginning of next year, no critical situations were forecast due to general oversupply.
Finally at the European level, a joint analysis with gas transmission group Entsog had shown "the robustness of the European electricity system, even in the event of a high demand situation with a simultaneous interruption of gas transit through Ukraine," Entso-e said.
Net generation capacity in Europe has increased by around 11 GW year on year, the report said, driven by growth in wind and solar (13 GW added), in hydro or other renewables (7 GW), and in gas plant (5 GW).
While gas-fired capacity additions were up, however, total dispatchable capacity was down 14 GW year on year, potentially reducing the system's ability to respond to shocks such as the French outages.
Recent S&P Global Platts' analysis shows that a trend in falling dispatchable capacity is set to continue for the next three years.
Conventional plant margins in Northwest Europe are set to fall by 17.7 GW between 2016 and 2018, removing 7% of the region's controllable thermal capacity.http://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/london/europe-can-cope-this-winter-despite-french-nuclear-26607937