Wires

UPDATE 1-French winter power supply in better shape than last year - operator

PARIS, Nov 20 (Reuters) - French power supply for the coming winter is in better shape than a year earlier thanks to higher capacity for nuclear and hydropower generation, electricity network operator RTE said in an outlook on Wednesday.

"In the event of a cold snap, given the current forecast availability of the French generation fleet, the risk of pressure on the electricity system is lower overall than last winter, especially for January and February 2020," RTE said.

The power system operator said peak electricity demand was seen stable at around 85 gigawatts (GW) if temperatures remained at seasonal levels.

Jean-Paul Roubin, RTE's director of operations, told a news conference that French reservoir levels were at their highest in 10 years following increased rainfall since September, which would provide stronger hydro generation.

He added that the availability of France's 58-reactor nuclear fleet, which covers around 75% of the country's electricity needs, would be higher particularly for January and February.

"As of now, although 14 reactors are offline, nearly all of them will be operational by January," Roubin said.

He said France could also count on around 8.6 GW of power interconnector capacity with neighboring countries from which France can import electricity.

"We could import more this winter compared with last winter with the increased availability in neighboring countries," he said. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Dale Hudson)

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