ENGIE pledges to ensure security of supply throughout winter
Contributing to Europe’s security of supply is one of ENGIE’s key priorities. It involves ensuring continuity of energy supplies – both gas and electricity – in view of the different risks faced by the supply system, particularly in winter.
In Europe, there are two main types of fluctuation that pose risks for security of supply:
- Meteorological variations
Energy demands depend on variations in the weather. As a significant proportion of gas is used for heating purposes, average daily consumption can be up to five times higher in winter than in summer. And electricity consumption can go sky high at the slightest drop in temperature.
- Loss of sources of supply
Loss of sources of supply can be caused either by technical problems with infrastructure or by geopolitical tensions.
Energy suppliers must also take into account local energy consumption and production patterns.
In France, some regions such as Brittany and Provence Alpes Côtes d’Azur (PACA) consume more than they produce. So production must be sufficient to supply these regions during winter when their energy requirements increase. There are similar variations between European countries. France is the largest exporter of electricity in Europe.
All these factors make the issue of security of supply a particularly sensitive one. Along with energy saving policies and the development of renewable energy, diversification of sources of supply and storage of energy (gas and electricity) form the cornerstone of security of supply.
ENGIE entities and subsidiaries are able to produce and store energy from different sources which, together, create favourable conditions for security of supply, even under unexpected or sudden circumstances.
What is the legal framework governing supply?
In France, security of supply is covered by one of the sections of the PPE multi-year energy programme, an energy policy governance tool. The terms of article L. 142-1 of the energy code state that the section must define “the energy system’s safety criteria, particularly the failure criterion mentioned in article L. 141-7 for electricity. It specifies the measures adopted to ensure security of natural gas supply. It may also anticipate implementation of specific provisions such as diversification of means of production or sources of energy supply, to guard against systemic risks. It also sets out importation requirements in fossil energy, uranium and biomass and identifies cross-border electricity trade outlined in the supply plan”.
Furthermore, the French energy code (Art. L 421-4) stipulates that every year the minister in charge of energy fixes by decree the minimum stock of natural gas on 1 November to ensure security of natural gas supply for the winter.
In France, while ENGIE is required to contribute to energy supply, GRTGAZ and RTE are operators of gas and electricity networks and, as such, are responsible for delivering energy to consumers.
In Europe, member states have obligations, set by EU regulations, that aim to ensure security of supply of gas and electricity between these member states. (To find out more, consult the Energy Regulation Commission (CRE) website.).