The French are continuing their energy conservation efforts. In terms of gas, consumption is in free fall by 27.7% over the August-November period compared to the same period in 2018, i.e. before the Covid-19 health crisis. “By neutralizing climate effects, we observe a drop of 22.2%,” noted GRTgaz on Tuesday, which announced that it would resume the publication of its gas consumption dashboard, launched last winter in the midst of the energy crisis.
The gas transmission network manager observes that “this drop in gross consumption is the result of a reduction in gas consumption in all sectors”. In detail, consumption fell by 25.8% (13.7% climate adjusted) in the public distribution network (households and professionals). A decline “linked both to a milder climate than in 2018/2019 and to consumer sobriety efforts”, specifies GRTgaz. Among large industrialists directly connected to the gas transport network, it is estimated at 25.7%, “in connection with their sobriety”.
The decline is even more significant with regard to the use of gas in power plants (-41.3% compared to 2018). In question, “the combination of the availability of nuclear power plants returning to the levels observed in 2015-2019, significant production of renewable energies and the sobriety of electricity consumers”, lists GRTgaz. A notable development compared to last year, marked by a jump in the consumption of gas-fired electricity production plants (54.4% compared to 2021), due to the unavailability of nuclear power plants.
This did not prevent overall gas consumption from falling by 9% over the year. A drop linked to “a mild climate, rising prices and the sobriety of consumers (under the impetus of the government sobriety plan)”, explained GRTgaz. For the coming winter, the projections are less alarmist than at the same time last year. “The French gas system is capable of supplying consumption and ensuring gas transits to neighboring countries, whatever the intensity of the winter,” assured managers GRTgaz and Teréga last month. However, tensions remain possible at the end of winter in the event of a late cold snap.
If managers want to be so reassuring, it is in particular thanks to gas stocks, 100% filled to date, according to figures from Gas Infrastructure Europe. These stocks represent around a third of annual gas consumption in France. Note, however, that the scenarios studied by managers for next winter assume the maintenance of the level of sobriety observed during the winter of 2022-2023. It will therefore still be necessary to be economical with heating and hot water.