Electricity consumption peaked for the year at 83.2 GW on Wednesday, 22 January 2020, at 9:30 am. This peak was within the average for the past 20 years in France.
The summer peak occurred on 9 July 2020, when consumption reached 54.9 GW, below the highs of recent years.
Demand reached its lowest point for the year on Sunday, 10 May 2020, falling to 28.7 GW. This was the lowest level on record since 2003, and occurred in May versus August in previous years. The main reason was the home confinement, which was lifted on 11 May, and the fact that the weather was warm on this three-day weekend.
Consumption in France varies greatly depending on the season, the day of the week and the time of day
Electric heating drives demand up in winter relative to the summer. Similarly, demand is higher during the week than on weekends because there is more economic activity.
Uses such as lighting and cooking, particularly in the evening, when people tend to return home, explains the spike observed at around 7:00 pm.
Demand by end-use
Hourly loads* on the two charts below show substantial seasonal variability. This is due in large part to the use of heating in winter.
* Note that these charts show power demand at reference temperatures. Actual demand may be much more variable..
Demand by sector
Analysis of the breakdown of demand by sector over one year reveals:
Significant reliance on electric heating in winter, reflected in power demand in the residential sector and, to a lesser degree, in the tertiary sector;
A brief dip in demand in the tertiary sector and industry late in December, when economic activity slows due to the year-end holidays. Decreases are also seen in both sectors during school holidays (in August, for example).
In winter, demand increases by 2,400 MW with each degree Celsius drop in temperatures
Power demand in France is very sensitive to temperatures, particularly in the winter months, due to the widespread use of electric heating.
RTE uses a model that distinguishes between temperature-sensitive and non-temperature-sensitive demand to calculate adjusted consumption. It is the temperature-sensitive share that determines the shape of the overall demand curve.
The temperature sensitivity of power demand varies over the course of the day. It is estimated at about 2,400 MW per degree Celsius in winter on average.
Energy efficiency: Households are consuming less energy
Household appliances are increasingly efficient, and this efficiency is helping households save on their energy bills.
It was estimated in 2017 that households consumed an average 2,350 kWh a year for domestic electricity uses. This would be halved if households were equipped exclusively with efficient appliances (A+++).
Ecowatt, the “weather forecast for electricity”
Ecowatt is a voluntary scheme developed by RTE in partnership with ADEME. It has been in place for more than ten years in Brittany and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, regions that have historically had the most issues with security of electricity supply. The scheme has since been expanded to allow people across France to manage their power consumption and help reduce the risk of outages when demand is high in winter.
Users can simply go to the monecowatt.fr website to learn about ways to impact electricity consumption at times when it is most important for society. There they will find clear signals (colour-coded from green to red) to help them take meaningful actions at home or in the workplace
When consumption exceeds a certain level in France, an “outage warning” text message is sent out encouraging citizens to reduce or postpone their consumption. In such times, what the power system needs most is for electricity users in France to reduce their consumption to improve security of electricity supply for all.
Ecowatt is open to all residential customers, businesses and local governments that want to become part of this movement and contribute to sustainable consumption.
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