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Energy saving back on the agenda! More!

Source: RTE - DICAP 08/12/2009

RTE and its partners relaunch the demand response initiative: "EcoWatt in Brittany - Using Energy Responsibly"

In response to confirmation that power cuts could occur during spells of cold weather in the Brittany region, RTE and its partners have officially relaunched their demand side management initiative: "EcoWatt in Brittany - Using Energy Responsibly". In an effort to encourage as many people as possible to sign up to this socially responsible approach and ensure maximum success, the interactive campaign published on the website www.ouest-ecowatt.com has been expanded and rolled out locally.

The situation facing Brittany is a delicate one: the region only generates 8% of all the electricity it uses. It therefore needs to be supplied with additional energy, which comes from power plants located some distance away. As a result, the local network is subject to heavy loads, especially during peak periods in winter, increasing the risk of power cuts in a number of départements in the area.

Long-term solutions to this issue are being looked at, involving developments to generating facilities and transmission infrastructures, but in the meantime RTE is set to implement emergency measures on its grid, starting this winter. In response to the problems that could potentially be encountered at peak times, RTE also intends to offer more support to local authorities for load shedding or demand response measures, on a trial basis. During critical periods, maintaining power network equilibrium also means managing demand. This is the reasoning behind the EcoWatt initiative unveiled last year. Based on a voluntary approach, it aims to raise awareness about the importance of power system balance and encourage consumers to adapt their energy use at times of peak demand.

The first stage was implemented last winter, with a total of nine alerts being sent out by email or SMS. Altogether, some 9,400 people signed up for the initiative. A survey carried out recently showed that nearly all of these "EcoWatters" correctly altered their energy use in response to the alerts, and systematically passed on the information to those around them.

EcoWatt has therefore been relaunched for the second year running, on an even more ambitious scale. It is based on a new web interface that is both user-friendly and deliberately invites greater user participation. The website's fun approach is targeted particularly at younger people, who are encouraged to sign up to the initiative. EcoWatt has also been updated to ensure closer involvement by the professional sector, particularly retailers and businesses.

Finally, in addition to the local partner-run schemes, the EcoWatt initiative will also be supported by the French Post Office. As a promotional partner of the operation, La Poste will issue information and display appeals in all of its offices in Brittany.