Task 15 – Case Study – French Riviera DSM Program – France

French Riviera DSM Program – France

This is the 5th article in a series highlighting the case studies of DSM Task 15, Network Driven DSM. This Task demonstrated that DSM can be successfully used to support electricity networks in two main ways:

1) by relieving constraints on distribution and/ or transmission networks at lower costs than building ‘poles and wires’ solutions, and

2) by providing services for electricity network system operators, achieving peak load reductions with various response times for network operational support.


The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region of France iss supplied from Tavel near Avignon, via two 400 kV transmission lines – a southern line which goes from Broc-Carros via  Néoules and a northern line which goes as far as Boutre.  A 225 kV line completes the ring by connecting Boutre to Broc-Carros (see Figure 1).


Figure 1.  High Voltage Transmission Lines in the
Eastern Part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region of France

Planning for the upgrading of the Boutre-Carros line to supply increasing load growth in the area commenced in 1983.  The initial plan comprised double 400 kV lines on separate easements over 170 km in length.  Six route options for the upgraded line were proposed.  However, there was strong opposition to this project because the lines would pass through the classified scenic gorges of the Verdon Regional Park.

In 1994, a petition against all the route options collected 3 000 signatures.  In January 1997, a seventh route option was proposed.  In July and August, a petition was circulated supported by local governments in the area.  The petition requested studies of alternatives to the line and 23 000
signatures were obtained. including 12% of tourists in the European Union.  In November, the Department of the Environment established a public commission of inquiry into the Boutres-Carros
line and the project was suspended.

In 2000, a decision was made on an alternative solution.  This comprised:

  • replacement of the existing 225 kV line by a single 400 kV line, 100 km in length, on the same easement;
  • removal of an existing 150 kV line which accompanied the 225 kV line; and implementation of an ambitious DSM and renewable energy distributed generation program called the “Eco-Energy Plan” to slow down the growth in demand.
  • In May 2006, the state court, after a complaint from an environmental group, refused
    planning permission for the upgrading of the Boutre-Carros line.  Therefore, at that time, the DSM program was the only way to secure supply to this region by keeping load growth within the capacity of the existing 250 kV line.

The Eco-Energy Plan comprised a very large integrated DSM project (including distributed generation).  It was then the largest DSM project in the European Union and possibly the world.  It had three main objectives:

  • to increase the efficiency of electricity usage and to create a critical mass of scientific and technological competence in relation to electricity DSM;
  • to modify the electricity-using behaviour of consumers, and building owners and managers;
  • to contribute to the development of local renewable energies and to establish a solid basis for
    future energy choices.

The following describes the analysis and program design developed following the initial decision in 2000 and the implementation of the Eco-Energy Plan between 2003 and 2005.

Preliminary Studies

Preliminary studies were carried out in 2001:

  • to quantify the level of load reduction required, after the scheduled completion of the new 400 kV line in 2005, to avoid network constraints in the period to 2020;
  • to understand the evolution and structure of peak demand in the eastern part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region;
  • to quantify the potential load reductions achievable through implementing DSM and distributed generation; and
  • to identify a detailed program of DSM and distributed generation measures.

Figure 2 shows that, following the scheduled completion of the new 400 kV line in 2005, with a fault level of n-1 capacity constraints were likely to reappear in the winter of 2018.  To avoid a further new line being required before 2020, the Eco-Energy Plan would have to reduce load by 35 MW in winter.


Figure 2.  Capacity Constraints in Winter with Fault Level n-1.
Following Scheduled Completion of the New 400 kV Line in 2005.

Figure 3 shows that with a fault level of n-2, capacity constraints were likely to reappear in the summer of 2016.  An n-2 fault level was possible in summer because of the risk of forest fires under the southern double circuit 400 kV line.  To avoid a further new line being required before 2020, the Eco-Energy Plan would have to reduce load by 130 MW in summer.


Figure 3.  Capacity Constraints in Summer with Fault Level n-2.
Following Scheduled Completion of the New 400 kV Line in 2005.

Figures 4 and 5 show the end-use composition of peak demand in the region in winter and summer.  In winter, peak demand is dominated by lighting and heating and in summer air conditioning is dominant with lighting also an important contributor to the peak.


Figure 4.  Winter Peak Demand by End-use in the Eastern
Part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region


Figure 5.  Summer Peak Demand by End-use in the Eastern
Part of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region

Figure 6 shows forecasts of the potential load reductions achievable through the Eco-Energy Plan by implementing DSM and distributed generation over the period 2005 to 2020.


Figure 6. Forecasts of Potential Load Reductions Achievable
through the Eco-Energy Plan 2005 to 2020

Figure 7 shows a breakdown of the forecast load reductions achievable in winter 2006.  Based on these forecasts, the target load reduction to be achieved through the Eco-Energy Plan in winter 2006 was set at 45 MW.


Figure 7.  Forecasts of Potential Load Reductions Achievable
through the Eco-Energy Plan in Winter 2006


The Eco-Energy Plan was launched in March 2003.  Initially six priority areas were identified:

  • communication and information;
  • new building construction;
  • efficient lighting and domestic electrical appliances;
  • large consumers and distributed generation;
  • demonstration projects by the Eco-Energy Plan institutional partners; and
  • public housing.

In 2004, a further two priority areas were added:

  • - existing buildings; and
  • - tourism

Figure 8 shows the forecast impacts and costs of the identified DSM measures to be implemented through the Eco-Energy Plan.


Figure 8.  Forecast Impacts and Costs of Identified DSM Measures

Communication and Information

A general public information campaign was launched on 18 March 2003.  Each year, the campaign was implemented in two waves on a seasonal basis:  summer and winter.  The campaign included:  paid advertisements in newspapers, and on radio and television;  information booklets and posters;  a quarterly newsletter;  a telephone information centre;  a website;  energy audit software for residential dwellings;  and displays in shopping centres and fairs (see Figure 9).

Targeted educational material on energy saving was produced for use by school children, including information on how to carry out energy saving projects at home.  These projects were intended to influence whole families to save energy not just the children.


Figure 9.  Eco-Energy Plan Information Stall at a Shopping Centre

New Building Construction

Targeted information material on energy efficient lighting was developed for engineering and building design firms.  Software was developed to enable the design of energy efficient communities.  Promotional material was produced to assist building designers to convince their customers to invest in energy efficient buildings.

Efficient Lighting and Domestic Electrical Appliances

Negotiations with lamp manufacturers enabled energy efficient lamps to be offered at a 20% discounted price in the Alpes-Maritime region.  The Eco-Energy Plan also made available loans to cover the cost of energy efficient lighting installations;  loans of between EUR 2000 and EUR 16 000 were available at interest rates of 2.5% over three years or 3.5% over five years.

Large Consumers and Distributed Generation

A working group on cogeneration was established and a technical/economic study was completed to identify the potential for the development of small cogeneration installations (200-300 kW) in the region.  This study investigated simplifying procedures for connection to the low voltage network and examined tariff options for purchases of electricity generated by cogeneration plants.

A study of the potential for increased hydro-electricity generation in the region was also completed.  This study investigated increasing the capacity of existing hydro power stations and installing new power stations on irrigation canals, drinking water supply infrastructure and rivers.

ADEME, the French environment and energy management agency and the regional government financed the installation of 40 grid-connected photovoltaic modules in the region.

Demonstration Projects

A database of about 100 public sector buildings in the region was established, including colleges, hospitals and offices owned by the national, regional and local governments, Electricité de France (EDF), Gas de France and ADEME.  An initial analysis of the information in the database identified that some facility managers were interested in carrying out energy efficiency and DSM demonstration projects.  Consequently, an initial program of feasibility studies was launched.  In particular, the regional government, EDF and ADEME financed 80% of the cost of feasibility studies in hospitals. In addition 12 colleges in the Alpes-Maritimes voluntarily agreed to undertake DSM feasibility studies.

In late 2004, EDF carried out energy audits of its highest energy-using buildings in the region.  The first implementation of energy saving measures aimed to save 7% of electricity usage (600 MWh) per annum.  EDF also carried out an internal awareness campaign about energy saving for its staff.
This initiative aimed to change the behaviour of EDF staff in administrative buildings without implementing costly technical measures.  At the completion of this program, EDF prepared a kit about energy saving measures that was made available to private sector companies and local communities.

In March 2003, the Eco-Energy Plan partners brought together 29 local communities in the Alpes-Maritimes region to encourage them to undertake effective DSM measures.  The first stage of this program required the communities to take a simple action in one of three areas of their own
operations:  investigation of opportunities for interruptibility; the installation of energy efficient
lighting in one or more of their facilities, or the management of street lighting. In the second stage, the communities could undertake basic measures directed to residents in their areas.

Public Housing

The Eco-Energy Plan worked with managers of public housing to improve the energy efficiency of their properties so as to reduce the energy bills of their tenants.  This is particularly important when existing properties are renovated.  To assist the property managers, specific DSM measures were developed for public housing, starting with quick energy audits of the properties to identify major DSM options.

Existing Buildings

The Eco-Energy Plan developed a book of technical solutions applicable to the Mediterranean area that assist the design of buildings adapted to the local climatic conditions and which make use of
local renewable energies.

To develop the energy services industry in the Alpes-Maritimes region, a database was constructed to identify a range of products and services that enable energy savings in residential and commercial
buildings.  The database was available on the internet and it was also possible to purchase the products on-line.  Prior to the development of the database, there were few energy service companies (ESCOs) in the Alpes-Maritimes region.  Following the implementation of the database, several new ESCOs were established.


In January 2004, an engineering and design firm Fludia was commissioned to assist the hotel sector to better understand and control their consumption of electricity.  Individual hotels were provided by mail with small recording devices which they used for three weeks and then returned to
Fludia.  The recordings were analysed and individual reports were provided to each hotel detailing the characteristics of the hotel’s electricity use and identifying anomalies and opportunities for
energy saving.  Some hotels also benefited from individual telephone consultations.  Some energy saving measures generally applicable across the hotel sector were identified, eg switching off coffee
machines when not in use and reducing the use of water-heaters in the middle of the day and when the hotels had low occupancy rates.

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This article was contributed by David Crossley, Managing Director of Energy Futures Australia Pty. Ltd and Senior Advisor at The Regulatory Assistance Project.  For more information on this case study and others, visit Task 15, Network Driven DSM at: