Ecowatt, the “power weather forecast” that RTE plans to rely on to get through the winter
The device sends alerts to users in case of voltage in the network. A useful tool when the shutdown of nuclear power plants and the war in Ukraine make it difficult to supply electricity.
This service is still little known, but could prove invaluable this coming winter. A winter that promises tensions in the power grid, with the twin threats of a disruption in Russian gas supplies and the shutdown of nuclear power plants. Ecowatt, it is said, is a kind of “current weather» which allows the French to know in real time electricity consumption from region to region and be warned in the event of an impending blackout in order to adjust their consumption.
This tool, developed by RTE, the manager of the electricity transmission network, and Ademe, the Agency for Ecological Transition, and supported by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, has existed in Brittany for almost fifteen years and in Provence for twelve years.-Alpes- French Riviera (Paka). It was extended to the entire national territory in November 2020. At the beginning of the next school year, it will be the subject of a communication campaign aimed at the general public, mainly on social networks, explains RTE.
SEE ALSO –“We could turn off electricity for private individuals this winter”
also readAre people at risk of power outages this winter?
Ecowatt is available free of charge on a website, monecowatt.fr, which displays a map of France with each region assigned a colour: green, yellow, orange or red. Green means that electricity consumption in the region “within reason“, yellow that it’s high, orange that the electrical system is “in a tense situation“, and red “in a very tense situation», with risk of cuts.
A “Cut-off vigilance alert»
Instead of having to go to the website regularly to monitor electricity consumption, Ecowatt offers everyone (individuals, companies, communities, associations) the opportunity to register for a “Cut-off vigilance alert“. If power consumption is too high and there is a risk of disruption, this will be sent to the affected French via SMS and email.to encourage every citizen to reduce or switch consumption‘ explains RTE.
“You will know which eco-gestures are most effective and when to use them‘, indicates the manager, who already lists a series of eco-gestures on his website, at home (turn off the heating of a room to be ventilated, cover the pans, avoid charging his laptop between 8am and 1pm and between 5pm : 3:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) as in the office (tidy up the mailbox, print documents only when needed and on both sides, prefer audio exchange to video, etc.)
also readHow leadership paves the way to energy sobriety
So Ecowatt is not “based on good willof consumers, emphasizes Julien Teddé, managing director of the energy broker Opéra Énergie. The service aims to empower users of the electricity grid by contributing to its smooth operation. “By taking part in this citizens’ initiative, you are helping to ensure that everyone is supplied with electricity.“, we can read on the Ecowatt website.
Carrefour and Casino new partners
And it seems to be working. For example, on April 4, RTE activated the orange Ecowatt alert nationally, calling for eco-gestures between 6am and 12pm. “By mobilizing private individuals, companies and municipalities, 800 megawatts (MW) of peak consumption were saved‘ welcomed RTE in a press release published shortly thereafter. “This corresponds to twice the consumption of the city of Montpellier and almost the output of a nuclear reactor“. The red Ecowatt signal was triggered only once during the January 2021 cold spell.
Nearly 50 local authorities have signed a partnership with Ecowatt since the system was generalized in 2020. Large companies are also involved. Last month, Carrefour and then the Casino Group signed the Ecowatt charter. Specifically, Carrefour is committedpromote more responsible electricityin its branches through four measures (change of LED lighting, closure of refrigerated cabinets, conversion of CO2 refrigeration units, training of branch and maintenance teams) and “to temporarily reduce its energy consumption at peak loads”, for example by lowering the light intensity of the branches and reducing the heating.
also readBig retailers are betting on energy sobriety
For its part, Casino, which also owns the Monoprix and Franprix brands, will appoint a person responsible for receiving Ecowatt notifications in each store and administrative location. “The Ecowatt managers of the group can decide to reduce the consumption of certain appliances between 8am and 1pm and between 6pm and 8pm, modulate the electrical intensity of the premises or optimize the use of heating.‘ explains the group. Will the device be enough to get through the next winter without any problems? To avoid that “blackout“RTE obviously has other levers, but they are heavier, ranging from cutting large industrial sites to load shedding on individuals.
SEE ALSO – Should new nuclear power plants be built?