According to Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher, France has successfully reduced its consumption of electricity and gas by 12% since October of last year, when the country launched an energy conservation program. The program, known as “energy sobriety,” was implemented in response to high gas prices and concerns about potential power outages due to a drop in supplies.
The goal of the program was to lower power consumption by 10% by the end of 2024. However, France has already exceeded this target in just half the time, putting the country in a much better position than last year and eliminating the risk of blackouts during the upcoming heating season. Pannier-Runacher stated that the 12% reduction in consumption includes both gas and electricity and has been adjusted for weather effects.
While celebrating this achievement, Pannier-Runacher emphasized the importance of continuing efforts to reduce consumption further. She expressed the need to make changes in energy usage habits permanent to prevent the reemergence of shortages in the future. The minister stated, “We are going to stay on this objective. The challenge is to make the changes structural, so that we do not have to return to this objective and these habits that we establish take root… We must continue our efforts at sobriety.”
Last year, France faced energy shortages due to a combination of factors, including a decrease in gas flows from Russia, technical issues with pipelines, and the shutdown of nuclear power plants for maintenance. These challenges highlighted the vulnerability of the country’s energy supply and the importance of conservation measures.
Under the “energy sobriety” program, specific guidelines were implemented to reduce energy usage. Private houses and administrative buildings were instructed to maintain temperatures not exceeding 19 degrees Celsius, while warehouses were encouraged to reduce temperatures to 16 degrees. Water heaters were required to be set at 55 degrees. Additionally, the program included restrictions on illuminated advertising during certain hours and a ban on keeping store doors open while heating or air conditioning was on. The duration that stadium lights are kept on before and after matches was also reduced.
Pannier-Runacher further noted that France has made significant progress in increasing its energy production capacity, stating that the country has gained the equivalent of five reactors in production compared to last year. This improvement in production, combined with the reduction in consumption, contributes to a more stable energy situation for France.
Overall, France’s success in reducing energy consumption by 12% demonstrates the effectiveness of the “energy sobriety” program. However, it is crucial for the country to continue its efforts to maintain these energy-saving habits and avoid the possibility of future shortages. By making these changes permanent and implementing structural adjustments, France can ensure a more sustainable and secure energy future.