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French nuclear, hydro power output rise in July

French nuclear and hydro output continued to rebound in July from record-lows in 2017 helping to boost the French power surplus despite heat wave conditions, data by grid operator RTE aggregated by S&P Global Platts Analytics show.

Nuclear output in July was up 2.8% on year at 28.9 TWh with output so far this year already above 231 TWh, running some 6 TWh ahead of the first seven months of 2017, the data shows.

Hydro output in July was up 28% year on year at 4.6 TWh with hydro so far this year some 13 TWh ahead of the same point last year, the data shows although the typical seasonal decline started with July output the lowest since December.

French hydro conditions were exceptionally strong in H1 2018, while the performance of the French nuclear fleet also improved due to a number of long-term outages finally returning.

Heat-related outage restrictions due to rising river temperatures especially on the Rhone so far have not made a major dent, but with especially weekend and overnight outages multiplying on the affected plants at Bugey, St Alban and Tricastin in southeastern France.

Nuclear and hydro output accounted for over 99% of French domestic demand (flat on year at 281 TWh) with much of the surplus power flowing abroad into Spain, Italy, Belgium and Great Britain.

Thermal plant output in July fell year on year, but was higher on the month with French gas plant generating 1.9 TWh and French coal 600 GWh.

Wind output was down 31% on year at 1.1 TWh because of a major lull for wind power across the Continent this summer, while solar was up at a record 1.3 TWh.

French power generation data for July
Jul-18 Jul-17 on year %
Nuclear 28.9 28.1 2.8
Hydro 4.6 3.6 28
Gas 1.9 2.2 -16
Coal 0.6 0.90 -33
Solar 1.3 1.10 18
Wind 1.1 1.6 -31
Total (not incl other) 38.4 37.5 2.4
Demand 34.3 33.8 1.6
Net Surplus 6.2 4.7
Source: RTE, S&P Global Platts Analytics

Source: S&P Global Platts