Making the grid ten times smarter
Thinking ahead to tomorrow's market
Europe has set itself challenging objectives, which were implemented via the adoption of the "climate package" in 2009. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared with their level in 1990, while also raising the proportion of renewable energies to 20% of EU energy consumption, and improving energy efficiency by 20%. European coordination is therefore vital to the standardization of procedures and equipment.
Radical changes within the industry including new consumption methods, the constant increase in demand, the promotion of renewable energies and decentralized power generation, are making it increasingly difficult to maintain a balance between supply and demand.
RTE's distinctive features include its ability to plan ahead, to engage in innovative research and development initiatives, and to work closely with other European utilities in support of the French and European transmission systems. This is reflected in the key role played by RTE in developing SmartGrids in Europe.
Optimizing market rules
In order to maintain a fluid and balanced market, stakeholders must be subject to the most transparent and least restrictive rules possible. The aim is therefore to develop a market structure that optimally combines economic logic and electro-technical constraints.
Introduced in parallel with European power exchanges and transmission system operators, the coupling mechanism is geared towards this goal. It seeks to optimise the use of available cross-border capacities while at the same time promoting price convergence throughout the coupled geographic area.
In conjunction with market stakeholders, we are introducing mechanisms to support the opening of the French electricity market and its integration into the European market. Daily price coupling in Central-West Europe (CWE) has played an instrumental role in economic optimization of the electrical system. It facilitates greater standardisation of market prices throughout the area, as well as more efficient allocation of available interconnection capacities.
The extension of price coupling to North-West Europe (CWE, UK and the Nordic countries) in early 2014, followed by South-West Europe (Spain, Portugal) and South-East Europe (Italy), in 2015, which will mark a new milestone in terms of European electricity market integration. Daily transactions can now be conducted through the coupling system (capacity and price allocation, etc.). Generation facilities are now coupled over an area that accounts for 75% of European power consumption.
Stepping up R&D coordination throughout Europe
Located at the crossroads of four "electrical regions", RTE is involved in four "European regional initiatives" aimed at standardising grid management regulations and tools within each region.
Within the scope of ENTSO-E, RTE is involved in a number of projects within the EEGI (European Electricity Grid Initiative) aimed at stepping up the development of future transmission systems in Europe. RTE is overseeing the Optimate project, the aim of which is to assess the advantages and disadvantages of different market models including renewable energies.
Furthermore, RTE is stepping up its collaborative R&D efforts with other European system operators, particularly in the field of SmartGrids.
Faced with the urgency of challenges associated with opening up our grid to renewable energies, the first priority is to apply this smart electricity to our facilities and infrastructures. Since 2010, we have been using our wind power transmission software programme (IPES) to handle this mode of generation. Minute by minute, IPES keeps a constant track of wind and solar generation. It also helps us to make 48-hour generation forecasts. We are currently developing a smart substation: two substations will be equipped with new technologies to enhance renewable power generation in Picardie.