RTE, the French electricity grid operator, plans to disable public charging stations for electric vehicles during peak times during winter if demand for electricity is excessive. Energetic tensions will increase with falling temperatures.
Current pressures on energy, due to rising costs and supply uncertainties due to the war in Ukraine, will logically increase with the approach of next winter due to more important heating and lighting. Electricity will be particularly affected and users of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles may be impacted beyond their wallet. Deactivation of charging stations is foreseen by RTE (Electricity Transport Network).
Different scenarios studied
The subsidiary EDF, responsible for the operation of high voltage lines in mainland France, has just published a forecast report on the management of the electricity grid during the winter of 2022-2023. This includes various scenarios that differ by variables such as temperatures, nuclear fleet availability, level of gas imports, but also the actions that can be taken by individuals, companies and communities to limit consumption spikes. Among them is the use of charging stations during off-peak hours, particularly at night, when electricity demand is lower across the country.
The hours of 8 am to 1 pm and 6 pm to 8 pm should be avoided. The early evening, in particular, corresponds to the time when a large number of drivers returning from their work places are likely to load their vehicles simultaneously. ” Of the more than 700,000 electric vehicles in the French fleet in 2021, if 100,000 electric vehicles switched from natural charging to off-peak charging (…) PM. “, supplies the company.
Public terminals possibly blocked during peak hours
In addition to these recommendations, the RTE could ask operators of public charging stations to disable them at peak times if the demand for electricity is expected to be too high in relation to the supply capacities of the suppliers. “ The use of electric vehicle terminals in the parking lots of tertiary buildings may be restricted to emergency use between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm and between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm. (…) A way of ‘forcing’ in case of urgent need is perhaps to be expected “, we can read in the report.
Ecowatt, the smart electricity bison
To encourage users to optimize their consumption, as well as decide on these possible cuts, RTE intends to rely on its Ecowatt platform. This site, which will soon be supported by a mobile application, presents itself as an “electricity weather report”. In particular, you can see the RTE’s three-day forecasts for electricity demand on a map. Each geographic area can appear in green, orange or red. Temporary restrictions will apply in the event of a red forecast. ” Given the three-day notice provided for the color of Ecowatt days, needs should be limited (vehicles may have been recharged overnight) “, says RTE.
Individuals who recharge their vehicles at home will not be subject to cuts. RTE announces: “ On Ecowatt rouge days, owners of electric vehicles whose recharging is not automatically controlled during off-peak hours are invited to recharge their vehicles after 8pm or on previous/following days. It is assumed that 100,000 equipped households respond favorably. » For the others, the risks of deactivating the terminal remain limited. In 11 of the 16 scenarios considered, less than 5 uses of restraining measures during winter will be required. At worst, limitations can be implemented 28 times.