The electricity consumption of the France will increase much faster than expected, as a result of European climate ambitions and the challenges of reindustrialization of the country, said the operator of the high-voltage network RTE in a report published on Wednesday. This acceleration in consumption will force the country to double its production of renewable energies by 2035, says RTE in this prospective analysis that should inform the public debate before the presentation by the autumn of the country's energy strategy by the government.
The operator expects a sharp increase in annual electricity consumption, between 580 and 640 terawatt hours in 2035, while in 2021 it still expected consumption of 540 TWh in a so-called reference average scenario, and 585 TWh in the event of "deep reindustrialization" of the country. In 2022, the French consumed 460 TWh of electricity.
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A major challenge
The new forecasts include the upheavals that have occurred over the past two years: the publication of the European programme "Fit for 55" which strengthens the obligations to reduce CO2 emissions of European countries (-55% compared to 1990) and the war in Ukraine. It highlighted the need for industrial sovereignty and a relocation of production to be carried out in tandem with the decarbonisation of these activities. Clearly, an urgent and massive need for electricity in factories to replace gas and coal.
As a result, the growth of electricity consumption in France should exceed 10 terawatt hours (TWh) per year during the decade 2025-2035, a pace that "has not been achieved since the 80s," says RTE in its balance sheet. This rate of growth "highlights the scale of the challenge facing the electricity system," insists RTE. It will be necessary to quickly produce more low-carbon electricity even though the new nuclear reactors announced by the government will not see the light of day before 2035.
Achieving by 2035 a low-carbon electricity production of at least 600 TWh, and if possible 650 TWh or more so as to cover the high end of the range of electricity consumption prospects, seems ambitious (...) but feasible," reassures RTE. This will lead the country to produce more renewable energy, and faster to reach at least 250 TWh by 2035, compared to about 120 TWh today, a doubling of production, says the report.