Sweden overtook France to become the leading net exporter of electricity in Europe between January and June 2022. It is followed by Germany, whose net exports have doubled compared to last year, thanks in particular to increased demand for the tricolor.
France is no longer the leading net exporter of electricity in Europe. In the first half of 2022, France, whose nuclear capacity is operating at historically low levels, has been doubled by Sweden, energy data analyst EnAppSys reports on Wednesday.
In this first half of 2022, Sweden’s total net exports reached 16 TWh, compared to 13.8 TWh last year in the same period. The top European customers include Finland (7 TWh) and Denmark (4 TWh).
But this breakthrough of the Nordic country in the European electricity market is mainly linked to the crash of the tricolor. While its net exports reached 21.5 TWh last year, France now imports more electricity than it exports over the same period. Its balance, now in deficit, reached 2.5 TWh.
The French nuclear sector in trouble
Indeed, in 2022, the French nuclear industry was hit by corrosion problems and unprecedented maintenance work that significantly slowed down its production. More recently, repeated heat waves have forced some power plants to slow down.
By rejecting the water they use to cool their circuits, some sites exceed allowable thresholds for heating adjacent waterways set by environmental regulations. This led to a decrease in their production to limit these overruns.
Germany, second largest net exporter in Europe
For its part, Germany was able to take advantage of the situation and became the second largest net exporter in Europe, just behind Sweden. Overall, the country sold 15.4 TWh more electricity than it bought in the first half of 2022. That is twice as much as German net exports in the same period last year.
The increase in its exports is partly explained by the increase in French demand and the need for France to purchase more electricity from abroad. On Wednesday, the hexagonal nuclear power plants were operating at only half their total power generation capacity, Reuters recalled.