Energies : le plan en trois paliers du gouvernement pour se préparer au risque de pénuries cet hiver

Energies : le plan en trois paliers du gouvernement pour se préparer au risque de pénuries cet hiver

Will we see, this winter, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the Minister for Energy Transition, regularly comment on television, as her health counterpart had done during the Covid-19 pandemic? The idea, suggested by some energy experts who advocate raising awareness among the general public, could gain traction. “It’s one track among others”says one in the minister’s entourage, who however does not want to scare the crowds before the start of the school year.

“The difficulties will be more or less acute according to three parameters”, we list in the cabinet of Agnès Pannier-Runacher, who is actively preparing her strategy to avoid any blackout this winter following the virtual cessation of Russian gas deliveries. First, the weather. What will the weather be? If the season turns out to be very cold and long, the energy needs, especially for heating, will obviously not be of the same order.

Next, what will be the status of our gas supply? Beyond stocks, which now reach 80%, and which represent around a quarter of French consumption, will supply through pipelines be maintained? Knowing that these pipes, especially those from Norway, the largest supplier, are not immune to technical problems. Finally, what will be the availability of the nuclear park? Here again, uncertainty rules. Will EDF have the ability to maintain its work path to restart some of its shutdown reactors?

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Anticipating the cessation of Russian deliveries, France is rushing to build up its gas reserves.

“In the event of a winter peak, difficulties would arise at the same time in gas and electricity, we highlight the minister’s office. Hence the importance of having scenarios in September to anticipate a degraded situation that couples the two energies. This will allow us to determine the critical points and the best trade-offs to take. »

erasure measures

In this context, the plan prepared by the government promises to be gradual, with several milestones depending on the urgency of the situation. With, initially, measures focused on sobriety and the voluntary withdrawal of economic actors from the network in exchange for remuneration, then, in the event of “orange surveillance”, and even as a last resort, actions to limit gas consumption, and finally cuts that can affect both gas and electricity.

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers To develop its “sobriety” plan, the Government multiplies the work tables

“This plan aims to avoid coercive measures as much as possible, such as rationing and, of course, load shedding,” However, we defend ourselves within the ministry. To do this, the sobriety plan, whose scope leaves the opposition very skeptical, foresees a 10% drop in consumption in two years. In this context, several working groups have been created around the company, and the organization of work in supermarkets, administrations, digital and, above all, housing, in order to identify the roadmap to follow to achieve imminent and longer-term reduction objectives.

Others will be launched at the start of the school year, under the leadership of the Minister for Sport and his transport counterpart. With global results presented at the end of September or beginning of October. At the same time, the executive must also closely monitor the implementation, together with network administrators and energy providers, of so-called load shedding measures. In other words, a strategy that seeks to remunerate economic agents when they opt for a voluntary reduction in their consumption.

“In the early 2000s, there were three times as many demand response capabilities, about 10 gigawatts [GW] compared to the current 3.6 GW,” underlines Michel Derdevet, former member of the executive committee of the Electric Power Transmission Network (RTE) and of the Enedis board of directors. He believes that at that time, the tariff mechanisms were more incentives. In his opinion, now there is on this topic “a real potential on the side of people, who are increasingly sensitive to messages of sobriety.”

Also read: Article reserved for our subscribers Energetic sobriety, a feeling of deja vu

Thus, article 19 bis of the purchasing power bill approved on Wednesday, August 3 by the National Assembly and the Senate, provides that the government present to Parliament a report aimed at establishing a national system of voluntary and paid deletion of people. And this, in four months.

Ecowatt, the “intelligent bison” of the electrical network

To this must be added, since the beginning of the school year, a broad campaign around the Ecowatt system promoted by the person in charge of RTE. A kind of intelligent bison designed to avoid network jams, this tool aims to encourage households to postpone their consumption outside peak hours, for example, midday in summer or 7:00 p.m. in winter.

“This citizen device, which was first launched in the 2000s at the local level, in Brittany and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur – these two regions subject to specific tensions in their electricity supply – had given good results, helping remove some of the peak consumption during peaks »recalls Michel Derdevet. “In short, if the forecasts are well made, it may not be necessary to shed loads”believes, based on the fact that consumer participation can help close a gap between electricity supply and demand of around 5% to 10%.

In the event that this scenario is not sufficient and the gas runs out in the pipelines, more coercive measures are studied, such as rationing and cuts. Who will they refer to? A priori, individuals and critical industries will be excluded. For now, only companies that consume more than 5 gigawatt hours per year were requested by the gas network operator to report the characteristics of its production and consumption.

Also read: Reduce energy consumption: why and how can individuals and companies act?

Submitted on July 20, their answers are now examined by the prefects, in coordination with the Minister for the Energy Transition and the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin. Goal ? Make a list, for each department, of consumers who may be partially restricted initially, before a possible total interruption. “In gas, for technical reasons, we can only download large consumers, while in electricity, it is possible to do it more easily and in a short period, for example a few hours”, we tell the government. The arbitrations promise to be tight.

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