Risk of power outage: monitor consumption and production in real time

Risk of power outage: monitor consumption and production in real time

Risk of power outage: monitor consumption and production in real time

ELECTRICITY FAILURE. The energy crisis could cause power outages in France this winter. RTE provides data on daily electricity production and consumption. Follow the figures of the day and the outage risks in France and near you.

Will power outages be inevitable this winter? After the strike at the refineries, which plunged France into a fuel shortage since the end of September, various social movements at EDF are this time threatening the French nuclear power plants before winter. While the workers at the EDF plant in Gravelines, in the North, began a renewable strike from this Thursday, October 13, the FNME, the National Federation of Mines and Energy of the CGT, announced a prolonged strike, in support of the strikers of the refineries and to demand wage increases. This strike would already affect eight nuclear reactors, that is to say three reactors in Cruas (Ardèche), two in Cattenom (Moselle), another two in Tricastin (Drôme) and one in Bugey (Ain).

If the impact on power supply is limited for the time being and safety is fully assured, the strike could worsen an already dangerous situation at power plants, with more than half of the reactors currently shut down for maintenance. If the social movements were to delay the restart of some intermediate, the energy sobriety plan, announced in early October by the government, could prove largely insufficient.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has already mentioned specific and temporary power cuts. They will depend on the levels of consumption and production of electricity in the country. In addition to a new tool, EcoWatt, aimed at raising awareness among the French, RTE provides valuable data through the Eco2Mix platform, updated in real or near time, to establish a dashboard of the country’s electricity situation.

How much electricity does France consume and produce as of this morning?

Is France at risk of a power cut today? Here is the accumulated electricity consumption and production in MWh since this morning, automatically updated every hour. The third figure corresponds to the imports needed to make up the difference or to exports (negative figure) in the event of surplus production.

ACCURACY : the data of the day are totals produced by us since the beginning of the day from “real time” data made available on Data.gouv by Open Data Networks Energies (ODRÉ), a platform that brings together data from GRTgaz, RTE, Teréga and several other key organizations in the energy sector in France. We compare them with the averages on the same date of the last 5 years (2017 to 2021).

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Are power outages likely to occur in your area?

RTE has launched a website, MonEcoWatt.fr, which presents itself as an “electrical weather forecast” and makes it possible to assess the situation of the electricity network today and in the coming days. The map offers various scales (metropolitan France but also region or department) and a color code. If it is green, the situation is considered “normal”. In orange, the electrical system is considered “taut” and “eco-gestures” are welcome. In red, the electrical system is “very tight”. Cuts are inevitable if consumption does not drop.

What is the level of electricity consumption in France today?

In detail, here is the level of electricity consumption today in France in MW (every quarter of an hour) automatically updated once an hour. The dotted lines correspond to the day’s forecast. The gray curve allows a comparison with the average consumption on the same date during the last 5 years.

ACCURACY : In this graph, as in the two following ones, the data for the day (red curve and blue curve) are “real-time” data collected at quarter-hour intervals by ODRÉ and available on Data.gouv. Hourly averages for the last 5 years have been calculated by us from “consolidated” data also available on Data.gouv.

What is the level of electricity production in France today?

Here is the level of electricity production today in France in MW (every quarter of an hour) automatically updated once an hour. The gray curve allows a comparison with the average production on the same date of the last 5 years.

Does France import electricity today?

Here is the level of imports or exports of electricity today in France in MW (every quarter of an hour) automatically updated once an hour. Positive data correspond to imports and negative data to exports. The gray curve allows a comparison with the average imports or exports on the same date during the last 5 years.

Does France produce enough electricity for its current consumption?

Here is the total electricity production in France today in MW (every quarter of an hour) automatically updated once an hour with respect to consumption. The dotted lines correspond to the day’s forecast. The gray bars illustrate the production surplus that can be exported or, on the contrary, the imports necessary to satisfy consumption.

What is the share of each energy in electricity production today?

Here is the share of each sector in the total electricity production in France today in MW (every quarter of an hour) automatically updated once an hour.

Are voluntary power cuts planned this winter?

The option of temporary and geographically targeted cuts was already mentioned by the government at the beginning of the 2022 school year, when an energy crisis was looming. Officially, load shedding should only occur in the case of particularly harsh winters. Statements by an EDF representative in mid-October heightened the concern. On Thursday, October 13, during the company’s Economic and Social Council, Philippe Page le Mérour, secretary of the committee, declared that he did not see how to supply electricity to the French this winter, avoiding blackouts. According to this EDF framework, even in the case of a “normally cold” winter, outages will be unavoidable or, in informed words, “we will not be able to do without load reduction”.

A drop in temperature of 1 degree statistically causes an increase in national consumption of 2,400 megawatts… For this reason, RTE has drawn up a plan for consumption peaks that do not stop occurring during the winter. Among the measures that can be taken in the event of a tense situation, there are, first of all, the alerts that encourage the French to reduce their consumption. According to the manager, a drop in consumption of 1 to 5% could already be enough to avoid power cuts in periods of tension in the electrical network.

On the EcoWatt site, RTE details the “eco-gestures” to limit consumption, in particular between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., that is, when the French start their day and economic activity increases, then when the appliances are turned on again and the heating is very busy at night, when some employees are still in the office and the public lights are on. Among these “eco-gestures”:

  • Reduce heating temperature as much as possible
  • Displace certain domestic uses (dishwasher, washing machine, etc.)
  • Moderate the use of kitchen appliances (for example, avoiding long cooking times)
  • Turn off unnecessary lights
  • Provide a specific heating schedule (for example, reducing the temperature by an additional 1°C)
  • Reduce ventilation to the minimum level required
  • Avoid charging electric vehicles during periods of stress

If the situation requires it, rotational shedding is planned, that is, voluntary power cuts in part of the network for a certain time. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne wanted to temper France Inter on September 1, 2022, referring to the cuts “in a short period of less than two hours, per district”. These cuts could occur both in the morning between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and in the afternoon between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., according to estimates by the Electricity Transport Network (RTE), the operator of the French electricity transmission system. On the other hand, they should not intervene for entire days or during weekends.

Voltage drops were also mentioned, that is, the reduction of the network from 230 volts to 220 volts, an almost painless measure according to the authorities. But the exceptional measures could go as far as the voluntary disconnection of customers (in exchange for compensation) or the cutting off of the electricity supply of the 21 most “greedy” national industrial estates.

Paris, Lyon, Marseille… Which cities are at risk of power outages?

If we know that large cities are especially energy intensive, it is difficult to determine in detail the cities most exposed to breakdowns and load shedding. From a facility (site) and consumption perspective, the data is regional. Thus we know that the Ile-de-France region recorded the highest consumption in 2015 with 29.8 million megawatt hours and 6.3 million sites, followed by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region with 23.9 million megawatts hour and 4.5 million sites and finally by PACA, Midi-Pyrénées-Languedoc-Roussillon and Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes, between 18 and 19 megawatt hours and approximately 3.5 million sites.

Logically, highly concentrated urban areas such as Paris, Lyon, Marseille and several other cities are the ones that consume the most and, therefore, perhaps the most exposed. Brittany joins the list, with Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, “electric peninsula” ​​and therefore sensitive territory.

Can Internet and mobile network outages occur this winter?

If power outages become necessary in the dead of winter, Internet and mobile network outages could well occur. An additional concern for individuals and for the economy. In the event of power outages, most European telecom towers are equipped with generators. However, these have a capacity limit of half an hour. Therefore, the operators are organizing themselves to deal with possible outages. They have begun, for example, to put mobile frequencies on hold during off-peak hours, that is, at night.

In Le Figaro at the end of August, Liza Bellulo, general secretary of Bouygues Telecom and president of the French Telecommunications Federation, indicated that the sector was “willing to take voluntary measures for energy sobriety, but without this affecting its activities.” In addition, the players in the sector have started talks with the authorities so as not to end up with too frequent power cuts that would impact both the mobile network and the essential Internet connection for their customers.

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