RTE’s investments within the scope of businesses regulated by the CRE (Energy Regulatory Commission) totalled €1,447 million in 2018. Investments primarily focused on completing the upgrading of the 225 kV line between Cergy and Persan to 400 kV; securing supply to the Préguillac area (225 kV Préguillac-Saintes and Farradières-Saintes lines); continuing work on the new interconnector with England (“IFA2”) and the DC interconnection between France and Italy passing through the Fréjus safety tunnel (“Savoy-Piedmont” project); and restructuring the 225 kV network in Haute-Durance. Some 60% of RTE’s grid investments went to existing infrastructure.
RTE has submitted to the regulator a €1,641.6 million investment programme for 2019. The proposed increase in investments from 2018 reflects a combination of: higher spending on interconnections (ramp-up of IFA2, further work on Savoy-Piedmont), the development of major domestic projects (including Avelin-Gavrelle and the start of work to connect offshore windfarms), faster digitalisation of substation control systems, the same level of investment in guaranteeing security of supply and facilitating assistance between regions (because consumption has been stable), and continued investment in information systems and real estate.
RTE is planning its investments knowing that sustained efforts will be required over the coming years to ensure a successful energy transition. Indeed, the French transmission network will play a key role in accommodating new generation sources, including offshore wind power, and in integrating the European energy market by boosting cross-border exchange capacity.
Moreover, RTE is responsible for ensuring the operational safety of the networks and continuity of supply to the different consumption areas and regions. It is adapting its investment strategy to the major changes the power system is undergoing, giving preference to digital solutions that enable optimal use of existing infrastructure.
Digital technologies will allow RTE to optimise decisions about grid operations, maintenance and upgrades. Its investment programme for the coming years aims to make RTE the leading European TSO in terms of power and digital technologies.
A total of 51% of the projects planned for the 2017-2020 period are designed to improve security of supply and nearly 30% to prepare for the new electricity mix. Developing new interconnections will capture 14% of investments and another 6% will go to projects that will make the power system safer.
To keep pace with these changes, RTE focuses in priority on adapting existing infrastructure. Nearly 60% of the investments planned involve renovating or upgrading the existing grid.
RTE also intends to develop the digital technologies that will allow it to optimise decisions about managing, maintaining and upgrading the grid. They must in all cases be rolled out with high voltage infrastructure.