Building a smart transmission system
At the core of the power system, RTE keeps the balance between power consumption and generation. Twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, we play a key role in directing the flow of electricity and maximising power system efficiency for our customers and the community. We convey electricity throughout mainland France, from power generation facilities to industrial consumers who are connected to the transmission grid, and to the distribution grid which provide the link between RTE and end users. We operate France's high and extra-high voltage transmission system, the biggest in Europe. We are the French transmission system operator, owner of the biggest transmission network in Europe.
We focus our efforts on benefits for our customers, using power generators, distribution system operators, industrial customers and traders in order to benefit the community. We propose valuable solutions which contribute to system cost control and preserve economic activity.
We play an active role in structuring the electricity market and devise solutions to optimise its use. We are constantly in touch with our local, national and European partners.
We develop innovative and forward-thinking solutions in order to develop the grid for smart power,thus supporting the economy and the energy landscape of the future. Interconnected with our European neighbours, we support energy transition by accommodating renewable energy and maximising their contribution through the extensive interconnectivity of our grid at both local and European levels. Combined with our innovative solutions, this interconnectivity facilitates flexible, responsive and efficient grid operation while also facilitating demand side management.
A more in-depth view
Founded on July 1st 2000, RTE was given the task of maintaining, operating and developing the power transmission system on an independent basis. At the time we were still attached to EDF, with a separate administrative, accounting and management system. The aim was to prepare the opening of the electricity market and the advent of new power utilities.
On September 1st 2005, we became a subsidiary of the EDF Group pursuant to legislation passed on August 9th 2004 relating to electricity and gas public service, and to power and gas utilities. This reinforced RTE's obligation to remain independent from the rest of the Group and secured its neutrality towards all power utilities. This independence is enshrined in a code of good conduct, which is annually monitored by the Regulatory Commission of Energy (CRE).
The beginnings of the grid for smart power
Ever since it was founded, RTE has focused its efforts on the performance of its infrastructures, on the smooth transmission of electricity flows and on the conception of market mechanisms. This combination of expertise enables us to offer our customers economical, reliable and clean access to electricity at a controlled cost to preserve economic activity. Tasked with balancing supply and demand, we anticipate changes to the electrical system so that we can adapt our tools to future needs. Since the introduction of new generation capacities, such as wind and solar power, we are opening up to intermittent power sources. At the same time, changes in user habits (larger numbers of electronic devices and electrical vehicles) and increasing peaks in demand, particularly during very cold spells, have prompted us to develop demand side management. In short, we focus on greater flexibility in terms of both power generation and demand.
In order to maintain system safety over the long term, we develop novel smart solutions which reinforce security of supply and facilitate energy transition at the lowest cost for our customers. Market mechanisms designed by RTE are part of these solutions. First of all, the "balancing mechanism", introduced in 2003, balances supply and demand in real time by directly asking generation facilities and industrial consumers connected to the grid to increase or decrease generation or consumption. This mechanism promotes the most efficient economical and technical solution. The capacity mechanism, the rules of which were submitted to the Ministry of Energy by RTE in 2014, aims to reinforce medium-term security of supply. Based on this strong market expertise, we are actively involved in building the European electricity market. We foster constant dialogue with our European partners, specifically through the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, ENTSO-E, of which we are a member.
Indeed, the grid for smart power describes the evolution of RTE's role and missions since its creation. We are therefore natural partners of the energy transition and will continue to incorporate technological advances to keep making our system even smarter.