A series of information systems are used to operate the French power transmission grid in real time. These systems rely on telecommunications infrastructure and different means of gathering and sorting data. All of these components together form the “nervous system” that guarantees that the electricity grid is observable, controllable and protectable. Work has been underway since the 2000s to digitalise these information systems and create a “digital backbone” for the power grid.
As of today, dispatching centres rely on a representation of the state of the power system generated by processing data from more than 40,000 remote meter readings repeated every 10 seconds, and from more than 350,000 remote signal readings produced every time the state of equipment changes. These real-time exchanges of data contribute to the safety of people and property, as well as to the grid’s performance since they allow it to be operated and maintained as close as possible to its technical limits. The boom in variable renewable energies and the ageing of electrical infrastructure are transforming how the power system is operated and maintained.