The world’s biggest operator of nuclear power plants, Electricite de France (EDF), found itself having to reduce energy production from its nuclear reactors in order to avoid overloading the grid this week.
EDF found itself having to reduce its nuclear output because the grid was receiving higher wind and solar output from Europe than expected.
This is seen by some energy analysis as a potential future earnings limit for aging nuclear power plants.
According to Dominique Miniere, deputy director of engineering and production at EDF, the utility is varying the output from its nuclear reactors “more and more often.”
It is already a big problem for EDF, who has said that it can’t financially make ends meet unless it is granted approval to raise the price of wholesale nuclear power. The biggest electricity consumers in France have pushed the government to cap the EDF wholesale nuclear power price at the current level in order to compete with energy prices in Germany.
When German shut down 8 nuclear reactors after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, nuclear proponents in France said it would put Europe’s electricity supply at risk and cause blackouts. But in 2012, it was France who was issuing warnings to the public to reduce energy usage, and importing electricity from Germany in order to supply demand.
The situation is only going to get worse for nuclear power operators and fossil fuel plants as more countries add more renewable power sources, like wind, solar, hydro, and thermal.