RTE is committed to support decarbonation and French and European industrial sovereignty.
In order to achieve decarbonisation goals described in European and French strategies, many industrial players have recently committed to investing in decarbonisation projects. In many cases, these initiatives significantly increase electricity consumption, through electrification of existing industrial processes, development of high-powered hydrogen electrolysers, or development of new industrial assets to decarbonise energy uses (generation of renewable fuels etc).
At the same time, connection requests from data centres to the public transmission network are increasing significantly. These requests are generally concentrated in limited geographical areas, due to the need to be closer to major optical nodes on the one hand, and final users on the other. As a result, data centres are often located on the suburban areas, mainly in the Ile-de-France and Marseille regions.
Finally, new gigafactories are emerging in several French industrial zones.
Since 2021, requests to connect large consumers to the French electricity transmission grid have amounted to more than 20 GW. RTE is fully committed to supporting these projects, which are essential to tackle climate emergency, to ensure French and European industrial sovereignty and to allow France to achieve the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
New needs et new ways
In this context, connection solutions can no longer be examined on project-by-project basis. Instead, they need to be mutually studied at, on a scale of a given area, in order to keep costs and delays acceptable, as well as to minimise environmental impacts. The electricity transmission network needs to be adapted quickly, by strengthening certain axes and building new high-capacity infrastructures. In addition, the capacity that will gradually be freed up in each zone must be allocated as efficiently as possible.
The law n°2023-175 of 10 March 2023 on accelerating generation of renewable energies contains new provisions to meet these challenges. In particular, it contains three series of measures for the decarbonisation of French industries that could have an impact on grid connection projects of large industrial consumers:
- According to article 27, the delay to commission grid connection of decarbonation projects could be reduced, via exemptions and derogations from a number of administrative procedures (public participation procedures, enquiries or administrative authorisations).
- According to article 28, and on a transitional basis, it is provided by law that a French competent authority will be allowed to modify the order in which connection requests for decarbonisation projects and for projects of major national interest for the ecological transition or national sovereignty in a geographical area are ranked, in accordance with transparent and objective criteria laid down by decree set by the Conseil d’Etat to be published, when the insufficient capacity of the public transmission network leads to a connection delay of more than five years.
- finally, according to article 32 regarding mutualisation, the French national regulatory authority (the Commission de regulation de l’énergie) may authorise RTE (i) to oversize connection assets in order to enable simultaneous or subsequent connection of several installations and (ii) to equitably share the connection costs among the beneficiaries (quota).
Implementing decrees will specify these various proposals.
Law no. 2023-973 of 23 October 2023 on green industry extends the scope of articles 27 and 28 to projects of major national interest for the ecological transition or national sovereignty. Those projects will be listed by decree.
In the meantime, RTE will continue to respond to connection requests, anticipating, where appropriate, these legislative changes and their effects on the technical and financial proposals (connection offers) to be submitted. In order to support the need to decarbonise, RTE is also offering early connection solutions for consumers by anticipation of the completion of reinforcement and development works necessary for their connection, where possible. In return, applicants will be subject to consumption limitations, the depth and maximum duration of which are specified in the connection offers.
See details by zone :
- Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region (since the end of March 2022)
- Marseille area
- Le Havre and Port-Jérôme
And for the other regions ?
For all the industrial zones, RTE is working to identify electrical zones where constraints on the public transmission network are likely to arise, with the aim of proposing a network development strategy and a response to connection requests adapted to the challenges of decarbonisation and re-industrialisation. You can tell us about your projects by contacting the commercial department in your region: Contact us - RTE Portail Services (services-rte.com)
November 14, 2023