Ecowatt, the “electricity weather forecast” on which RTE wants to rely to get through the winter

Ecowatt classifies the level of electricity consumption into four levels: green, yellow, orange and red. monecowatt.fr

The device sends alerts to users in the event of a voltage on the network. A useful tool when the shutdown of nuclear power plants and the war in Ukraine complicate the supply of electricity.

This is a service that is still little known, but it could prove invaluable during the coming winter. A winter which, with the double threat of a cut in Russian gas supplies and shutdown nuclear power plants, promises to be tense on the electricity network. Ecowatt, that’s its name, is a kind of “electricity weather» which allows the French to know in real time the level of electricity consumption region by region, and to be alerted in the event of a risk of power cuts, so as to adapt their consumption.

Developed by RTE, the manager of the electricity transmission network, and Ademe, the ecological transition agency, this tool supported by the Ministry of Ecological Transition has existed for almost fifteen years in Brittany and twelve years in Provence. -Alpes-Côte d’Azur (Paca). It was extended to the whole of the national territory in November 2020. At the start of the next school year, it will be the subject of a communication campaign aimed at the general public, mainly on social networks, explains RTE.

SEE ALSO –«We could cut the electricity to private individuals this winter»

Ecowatt is available free of charge on a website, monecowatt.fr, on which is displayed a map of France, where each region is associated with a color: green, yellow, orange or red. Green meaning that the electricity consumption in the region is “within reason“, yellow that it is high, orange that the electrical system is “in a tense situation», and red «in a very tense situation», with a risk of cuts. “The app is evolving. The yellow signal will no longer exist at the start of the school year for more simplicity“, we specify at RTE. There will therefore only be three levels: green, orange and red.

A “cut-off vigilance alert»

Rather than having to go regularly to the website to monitor electricity consumption, Ecowatt offers everyone (individuals, companies, communities, associations) the possibility of registering for a “cut-off vigilance alert“. When the electricity consumption is too high and there is a risk of a cut, it is sent by SMS and email to the French people concerned, “to encourage each citizen to reduce or shift their consumption“, explains RTE.

«You will know which eco-gestures are the most effective and when to apply them”, indicates the manager, who already lists on his site a set of eco-gestures, at home (turning off the heating of a room being ventilated, covering the pans, avoiding charging his laptop between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.) as in the office (cleaning up your mailbox, printing documents only if necessary and on both sides, favoring audio exchanges over video, etc.) .

Ecowatt is therefore not “based on good willof consumers, underlines Julien Teddé, managing director of the energy broker Opéra Énergie. The service aims to empower users of the electricity network, by making them contribute to its smooth operation. “By participating in this civic initiative, you are helping to ensure that everyone is supplied with electricity.“, can we read on the Ecowatt website.

Carrefour and Casino new partners

And it seems to work. On April 4, for example, RTE activated the Ecowatt orange alert at the national level, calling for eco-gestures between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. “The mobilization of individuals, businesses and local authorities saved 800 megawatts (MW) at peak consumption“, welcomed RTE in a press release published shortly after. “That is the equivalent of twice the consumption of the city of Montpellier and almost the power of a nuclear reactor“. The Ecowatt red signal was triggered only once, during the cold snap of January 2021.

As for local authorities, nearly 50 have signed a partnership with Ecowatt since the generalization of the system in 2020. Large companies are also getting involved. Last month, Carrefour and then the Casino group signed the Ecowatt charter. Concretely, Carrefour is committedto promote more responsible electricityin its stores, via four actions (change of LED lighting, closure of cold cabinets, conversion of CO2 refrigeration units, training of in-store and maintenance teams), and “to temporarily reduce its energy consumption in the event of peaks”, for example by lowering the light intensity of the stores and reducing the heating.

For its part, Casino, which also owns the Monoprix and Franprix brands, will appoint a person in charge of receiving Ecowatt alerts in each store and each administrative site. “The group’s Ecowatt managers may decide to reduce the consumption of certain equipment between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. and between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., to modulate the electrical intensity of the premises or to optimize the use of heating.“, details the group. Will the device be enough to get through next winter without a hitch? To avoid the “black-out“, RTE obviously has other levers, but they are heavier, since they go from the cut of large industrial sites to load shedding in individuals.


SEE ALSO – Should new nuclear power plants be built?

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