September 26, 2017 / 8:20 AM / a year ago

French summer hydro power output tumbles on lack of rainfall

PARIS, Sept 26 (Reuters) - French hydro electricity generation fell in July and August due to a lack of rainfall, leaving reservoirs at very low levels compared with previous years, grid operator RTE said on Tuesday.

Electricity production from hydro sources fell 26.5 percent in July, and 9.9 percent in August compared with the same months in 2016, RTE said its monthly report, blaming the low output on the lack of rain.

French hydro power reservoirs are at their lowest level for this period of the year compared with the three previous years, according to data from RTE’s website.

Electricity production from thermal gas, fuel and coal-fired plants rose sharply in July by 65.6 percent compared with the same month a year ago, but fell in August by 3 percent as power from nuclear generation rose.

Atomic power, which accounts for over 75 percent of French electricity requirements, rose in August by 5.4 percent compared with the August 2016, RTE said.

Electricity from solar panels was stable during the summer months, up 1.5 percent year-on-year in July, and down 1.5 percent in August although installed solar capacity rose by 525 megawatts in the period to 7.1 gigawatts.

Power production from French wind turbines soared in July by 67.6 percent and by 4.6 percent in August compared with the same period a year ago.

French electricity demand during the summer months was stable, RTE said, adding France did not witness a prolonged heat wave during the period. Demand rose by 0.5 percent in July and fell slightly by 0.3 percent in August. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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