we explain how “Ecowatt” works, the tool RTE relies on to avoid power cuts this winter

This is “Smart bison in the electrical system“, in the words of Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher. During a press conference on Wednesday September 14, Xavier Piechaczyk, chairman of the management board of the electricity transmission system operator (RTE), presented Ecowatt in detail. The device, which will provide the “weather forecast” of energy, should also encourage consumers to reduce their energy consumption, during periods of restricted electricity supply and low nuclear production. Franceinfo returns five questions to the operation of this tool aimed at informing and informing the French people.

1What information does this “time” energy provide?

Thanks to this system, users register on the platform See monecowatt.fr the level of electricity available in the country in real time, thanks to the three-color “weather” system: green (“normal consumption”), orange (“strained electrical system”) and red (“very bad power system”). Ecowatt presents consumption forecasts for the next three days, as well as details, hourly, of voltage periods.

In the case of consumption to be red, “Cuts are inevitable if we don’t reduce our consumption”, warned RTE. The goal is to avoid these popular power cuts. Several scenarios are being studied to anticipate the next months, but only if there is a cold winter and supply. lowered”, Ecowatt’s red alerts can be activated about thirty times, determined RTE. However, the power transmission network manager wants to be assured: “Under no circumstances is France in danger of a ‘blackout’.”

2How can the French be informed of the need to reduce their consumption?

Like a weather alert, a red alert will be broadcast via the Ecowatt application, or via SMS and email, if you have registered with“cut alert alert”.

If consumption forecasts predict a period of tension, an initial alert will be sent to warn users and allow them to adjust their usage accordingly. Ecowatt subscribers will then receive a second alert, if the predictions are confirmed. This time, with specific times when they will be asked to save energy, France Inter is specified.

THERE so far, only 100,000 people have registered on the platform. These alerts can be more widely disseminated by the media and energy suppliers, for local authorities, businesses and households.

3What are the suggested eco-gestures?

In times of tension in the network, registered French people will be encouraged, on a voluntary basis, to adopt small daily actions. to reduce their electricity consumption. These recommendations are especially valid for peak consumption: in the morning between 8 am and 1 pm and in the evening between 6 pm and 8 pm On its site, Ecowatt suggests, for example, turn down the heating when you leave your house, close your flaps on night or otherwise in winter, to cover the pots while cooking, to avoid charging your mobile phone at certain times, to limit the number of lights in a room or to turn off your internet box in case of loss .

“If all French households turned off the light bulb, it would save up to 600 MW across the country, the power of a coal-fired power plant; or equivalent to the consumption of 600,000 inhabitants”assured RTE.

4Are Ecowatt companies worried?

At its national launch in 2020, Ecowatt is only intended for individuals. The device is however expanded to businesses this winter. “Our switchboard is full of calls from companies that want to sign agreements with Ecowatt”said Xavier Piechaczyk, Chairman of the Board of RTE, on Wednesday.

Several dozen companies such as Carrefour, La Poste and Schneider have already signed up the partnership with Ecowatt. Energy suppliers EDF, TotalEnergies and Engie have also warned their customers of any tension in the network.

5Has the device been used before?

The system has been tested for many years in Brittany and The region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur The system became national in 2020. A The orange alert signal was already triggered on April 4, during a very cold day, which saved about 800 MW, according to RTE data. “One degree below normal for the season is a consumption that increases to 2,400 MW, or equivalent to three nuclear reactors with a power of 900 MW”lined up on RTE.

A similar system to communicate with the state of the gas market, designed by GRTgaz, should also quickly see the light of day. Launch it “in October”there announced Wednesday the managing director of the gas transmission network operator, Found Thierry.

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