Impact of early shutdown of Doel 3 and Tihange 2 on grid and security of supply
On Tuesday 25 March Elia was informed by Electrabel about the early shutdown of the Doel 3 and Tihange 2 nuclear reactors, which have a combined capacity of 2000 MW. They will be taken offline for maintenance on 26 April and 31 May. However, both reactors were shut down earlier than planned - and for an unspecified period - in order to carry out additional tests.
In the days and weeks ahead, Elia will ensure that the country’s security of supply is not jeopardised. The loss of the two units will be offset via the intraday market coupled with neighbouring countries. The market parties use nearly all of the available import capacity, with maximal deployment of phase-shifting transformers on the border in order to control flows. Balance on the grid is also maintained by starting up various power stations in our country.
Security of supply for the months ahead and in the longer term is currently being analysed. Looking ahead to winter 2014-2015, if the two reactors have not been restarted the situation could potentially become serious, given the changes expected to the power generating park (recent and announced closures of gas-fired power stations and the planned decommissioning of Doel 1 and Doel 2 in February and October 2015).
As the transmission system operator, Elia is responsible round-the-clock for ensuring operational balance on the grid. The supply of electricity is mainly in the hands of the generators and suppliers. With regard to security of supply, the State Secretary for Energy, Melchior Wathelet, has taken measures that could be deployed in the event of imminent supply problems.
Elia, together with the government and generators, is examining the situation and the options for coping with the loss of production capacity and will soon report on the results of its analyses.