Posted Jul 19, 2022, 2:27 PM
“We must enter into a logic of sobriety”: this is one of the messages hammered home by Emmanuel Macron in his July 14 interview, when experts announce a risk of electricity shortage this winter.
The executive wants to avoid excessive consumption and power cuts in order in particular to “preserve our economy”, he explained, before warning: “We must organize our lives differently to smooth out the peaks, because this which consumes a lot is when we run the machines morning and evening. »
To help the French and businesses, a tool could well become central or even essential: Ecowatt. This platform was launched in 2020 by RTE, the operator of the electricity transmission network. This indicates “the electricity weather forecast” and sends alerts in the event of voltage on the network. Explanations.
1. How does the app work?
As in a classic weather report, we find on the platform a map of metropolitan France. The application simply indicates in real time, as well as over the next three days, whether the system is overloaded or not.
2. How are the signals calculated?
Different signals indicate the status of the power grid system. When everything is green, the network supports the electricity consumption. A first level of alert indicates higher consumption than in previous years at the same time. If the region turns orange, the electrical system is in a strained situation and electrical reserves are low.
It is then advisable to reduce or shift its consumption; for example, starting a machine or recharging an electric car. In red, maximum alert level, indicates that there is not enough electricity to cover the needs in France. Cuts are then inevitable if the electricity consumption does not decrease.
3. Why do you need to monitor your electricity consumption?
With the decline and the risk of stopping the export of Russian gas and the shutdown of several nuclear reactors for maintenance, the available margins will be sharply reduced this winter.
Last April, RTE had already launched a call to monitor its electricity consumption due to a very cold spell. Efforts that had saved 800 MW, “equivalent to twice the consumption of the city of Montpellier and almost the power of a nuclear reactor”, specified RTE.
4. What can consumers do at their scale?
During a critical period, RTE recommends reducing or staggering its electricity consumption outside periods of high demand: “If all French households turned off a light bulb, this would save up to 600 MW at country scale, or the power of a coal-fired power station; or the equivalent of the consumption of 600,000 inhabitants”, gives as an example RTE on its site.
When we say that small gestures count, it’s not just a formula. And Ecowatt aims to incentivize them.
5. Is it also for companies?
Carrefour has just announced an agreement with Ecowatt to reduce the electricity consumption of its stores in times of crisis, in particular with a drop in brightness or a drop in temperature.
The logic of sobriety consists first of all in shifting or postponing consumption during peak hours which are in the morning, when businesses open, and in the evening from 7 p.m., when individuals return home. When Ecowatt will sound the alert, Carrefour will lower the intensity of the lighting in its stores by half and lower the heating from 19 to 17 degrees.
6. Are cuts to be feared?
To avoid large-scale cuts, RTE indicates that it is planning voltage drops on the network or load shedding plans, i.e. localized, temporary power cuts (less than 2 hours) and spread over the territory. to reduce power consumption. For the moment, none of these measures have yet been applied, reports RTE.