Centre dispatching national Saint Denis
Centre dispatching national Saint Denis

Balancing supply and demand

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When it comes to electrical power, storage options are limited because electricity has to be used as soon as it is generated. RTE’s job is to adjust this balance second by second. This means keeping its eye on the grid, controlling flows between regions and our European neighbours, and forecasting changes in power consumption in the short, medium and long term.
Paragraphes
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Equilibre offre-demande

RTE keeping its eye on the grid

 

RTE possesses a battery of tried and tested tools to monitor the transmission system and maintain a balance in real time.

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How to maintain the balance

Using this combination of data and actions, RTE is always able to choose the most cost-effective and efficient solution for transporting electricity.

 

Have you heard about interruptibility?

RTE possesses a number of mechanisms which it uses to control the balance between supply and demand, in other words between available output and usage.
For example, interruptibility is a transmission system balancing mechanism whereby an industrial consumer’s usage can be immediately interrupted in exchange for financial compensation.
When there is a serious and immediate threat to the grid’s normal operation, and in order to maintain a balance between supply and demand, RTE may use this mechanism, which it can activate within a few seconds. It can be simultaneously activated by an automatic controller on all affected sites, or manually activated by the dispatcher depending on local requirements.

 

RTE predicts its requirements and risks, both now and 10 years into the future

RTE’s ability to balance supply and demand in real time largely relies on its ability to forecast changes in power consumption over several years, up until the day ahead and down to the very second.

In order to establish these forecasts, RTE uses annual consumption records as well as information provided by parties like Météo France, because weather significantly affects power consumption.

 

2300 MW
The increase in France’s power consumption due to a drop in temperature of only 1°C, tantamount to the power used by the city of Marseille every day.


design engineers and forecasters scrutinise all this data by comparing it with short-term, medium-term and long-term generation capacities. Forecasts are constantly updated up until the day ahead. They provide RTE with real-time margins so that measures can be taken to balance the system.

 

Real-time consumption data

RTE can provide its customers with a tool called éCO2mix, enabling them to view live-time data about France’s power system: forecasts made the previous day and on the same day; differences compared with real-time consumption.

Another of RTE’s roles and skillsets is its ability to forecast electrical risks and required grid adjustments over the long term. The company performs assessments and projected supply estimates that it shares with other power system stakeholders and with public authorities that make energy policy. Goal: offering solutions that maintain a sustainable balance between supply, control and sound grid operation.

Access to éCO2mix data

Real time eletricity consumption in France

Electricity consumption in France

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Real time data

Anticiper les évolutions à long terme


A moyen terme, la transition énergétique va bouleverser la manière de produire et de consommer l’électricité. C’est la mission de RTE d’évaluer et d’anticiper l’impact de ces changements structurels et d’éclairer les pouvoirs publics. Un seul objectif :  proposer des solutions qui garantissent l’équilibre durable entre l’offre et la demande, le pilotage et le bon fonctionnement du réseau.

RTE practises electrical solidarity at all levels


In order to be able to supply energy at the most affordable prices, RTE controls nation-wide power flows, as well as importing and exporting electricity from and to France’s neighbouring countries. Interconnections enable RTE to establish Europe-wide market mechanisms. The interdependence of generation capacities and lifestyles helps to foster electrical solidarity across Europe. The same solidarity applies at a nation-wide level, between regions that generate more power than they use and vice-versa.

 

Maintaining solidarity across Europe’s electricity market

European countries depend on each other for electrical power. On a daily basis, electricity is imported and exported across our borders through 50 cross-border connections. RTE coordinates this whole system along with its fellow transmission system operators, whilst providing all those involved in France’s power system (generating utilities, suppliers, distributors and traders) with access to these international exchanges.

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Cross-border connection France Europe

In France, if a temporary imbalance were to appear between power supply and demand, the national system operating centre (CNES) could use cross-border connections to rectify such an imbalance. These re-balancing exchanges take precedence over commercial transactions, thereby avoiding any potential power cuts in France, even in extreme cases.

 

Daily international exchanges


RTE maintains a constant flow of power so that all those involved in the power system can have access to these international exchanges. This is how power is imported and exported across our borders on a daily basis. RTE also ensures that the commercial agreements established between market players do not conflict with France’s security of supply.


Our national system operating centre acts as a power dispatch centre: if a temporary imbalance were to appear between power supply and demand, it could use our 50 cross-border connections to rectify such an imbalance. This is a concrete example of Europe’s electrical interdependence. These re-balancing exchanges take precedence over commercial transactions, thereby avoiding any potential power cuts in France, even in extreme cases.