Knowing how to juggle between real time and very long term
French law assigns an essential role of observation and analysis of the national electricity system to RTE. In order to so, RTE has developed recognised expertise in data management, monitoring, analysis and forward thinking. The purpose is to procure accurate and reliable information to operate the grid in real time and to know how to plan ahead for new aims, behaviours and opportunities to adapt the electricity system to the needs of our customers on a permanent basis. In order to achieve this aim, our strategy is based on three main principles: operating discipline, joint construction and transparency. This is what goes to the making of the smart grid.
Crucial aims for the electricity system
Our main objective is to improve the following aspects on a permanent basis:
- quality of data on the power transmission system.
- relevance and reliability of our forward thinking.
Why? First of all, because they are absolutely indispensable for grid operation on a daily basis. If our forecast models indicate peak consumption for the next day, we are capable of triggering the different drivers (demand side load management, deployment of cross-border imports, etc) to prevent any imbalance. In the same way, if our seasonal analysis (available in French) picks up a risk of failure due to cold snap, we can act upstream to ensure security of supply.
In the longer term, this data and these analyses of the electricity system are essential to improve the grid. There is an average lapse of 7 to 10 years between the decision to construct a new high voltage line and its commissioning. It is better to have reliable and substantiated information when the decision is taken, if the equipment is eventually to be effective and really tailored to the needs.
We therefore carry out constant monitoring and forward thinking concerning energy prospects, electricity system economy, new technologies, environmental impacts related to energy and the grid, macro-economic analysis, demographic trends, etc. These elements constitute input data for our prospective studies in the medium- and long term, for example our Generation adequacy report and our ten year network development plan (available in French).
3 key principles for smart data and analyses
Our strategy concerning data and prospective analysis is based on three principles:
- Operating discipline: rigorous methodology is constantly applied and presented in advance of our publications. For example, this is the case for our seasonal studies (available in French). The scope observed is defined: RTE carries out technical analysis of the operating margins forecast for the French electricity system for the period of mid-June to the end of September. Our approach is explained in detail and several thousands of possible scenarios are considered to establish our hypotheses.
- Joint construction: in the same way as for all our activities, we work and reflect hand in hand with our partners: electricity generation companies, distributors, customers, RTE’s European counterparts, public authorities, Météo France (the French national meteorological service), local authorities, associations, etc. Pivotal to this ecosystem, information, points of view, studies, etc are discussed with everybody. This is especially the aim of the grid prospects committee. This is part of our intent to plan ahead and discuss, with all the stakeholders, the various aims with medium- and long-term impact on the electricity system.
- Transparency: we make sure that our data and analysis is produced and discussed in completely transparent conditions. Our sources of information are systematically divulged. All the information that we have at our disposal and all the forward planning that we have conducted is available to everybody on our website. In order to be even more accessible, grid-specific data is henceforth also available on smartphones and tablet computers in real time with the eCO2mix application.