New Electric France 2027 and 2032: Enedis publishes the preliminary document to its future Network Development Plan for electricity distribution

How and how much should we invest to develop the distribution network of the New Electric France over the next decade? This is the purpose of the Network Development Plan that distribution system operators are required to publish and update every two years, under a European directive transposed into French law(1).

 Version françaisedrapeau France

Although a decree still has to set out the timetable, content and consultation procedures for the Network Development Plan, Enedis has prepared a preliminary document as part of its transparency and pedagogic approach. The aim of this document is to contribute to the debates surrounding the next French multiannual energy program or NECP (in French PPE: Programmation Pluriannuelle de l’Energie) and to launch a broad participatory consultation process with the distribution network users committee (CURDE: Comité des Utilisateurs du Réseau de Distribution) in preparation for this Plan. This preliminary report, the first of its kind for the company, provides a medium- to long-term perspective on the New Electric France for 2027 and 2032.

What are the objectives of this preliminary document to the Network Development Plan?

  • By publishing this document, Enedis is demonstrating its commitment to transparency and pedagogy in order to contribute to the debates around the ecological transition (next PPE).
    • It is an exclusive, voluntary document covering all the company's investment activities.
    • It embodies the pride we take in living the values of public service.
    • Its rich and accessible content is intended for readers interested in the electricity system without necessarily being specialists.

It is important to specify that this is not the "Network Development Plan" as such. This preliminary document has not been submitted to public consultation. However, it will enable us to gather feedback over a long time period, which will contribute to the official "Network Development Plan".

  • This preliminary document complements the ten-year electricity transmission system development plan (SDDR: Shéma Décenal de Développement du Réseau) of RTE, the French transmission system operator. It provides a more precise view of investments at the level of the public electricity distribution network managed by Enedis.
    • RTE took part in writing the part of the document concerning the S3REnR (a disposition to optimise renewable energies connection to the networks. In French: Schéma Régional de Raccordement au Réseau des Énergies Renouvelables), and was kept informed of developments as the document was being drafted.
  • Through its preparatory work, Enedis affirms and illustrates 5 convictions for the success of the second electrification of France:
    • The public electricity network holds a significant collective value
    • Enedis develops and operates this network within a framework of dialogue and consultation both at the national and local levels
    • One of Enedis' key expertise lies in its ability to optimise and sequence investment in a complex, uncertain environment with multiple challenges
    • Investment methods must be stable over time to maintain a consistent course in the long run...
    • ... but they must adapt to a fastening pace due to the energy transition
  • Enedis is one of the major investors in the regions, with 3 types of investment detailed in the document:
    • Connections to the network: of the new consumers or producers, carried out in low-voltage or medium-voltage depending on the required power level.
    • Network reinforcement: adapting the network to gradual changes in existing loads.
    • Network renewal: implementing modernisation and resilience programmes defined in national investment strategies, and prioritising works to be treated as a priority.

Connections are carried out in line with the evolution of external demand, while reinforcement and renewal are optimised by Enedis as the network operator in the service of the community.

  • The investments announced in Enedis’ preparatory work have been assessed on the basis of a reference connection scenario.
    • Stability in the number of new consumer connections per year.
    • Strong development of electric vehicles charging infrastructure (EVCI): the scenario predicts that 13 million electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will be in circulation by 2032 (compared with 1,102,975 by the end of 2022).
    • Strong development of renewable energy production facilities, assessed according to the objectives of the 2019-2028 multi-annual energy plan (PPE in French): the scenario forecasts that 28 GW of wind generation capacity and 42 GW of solar generation capacity will be connected to the public distribution grid by 2032, which represents a connection of 4 to 5 GW of renewable energy per year within Enedis’ perimeter.

Note: preparatory exchanges between Enedis and the organising authorities for electricity distribution are essential for sharing a diagnosis and investment priorities.

  • In total, by adding investments in modernisation and resilience (over 1 billion per year) and those related to reinforcement, Enedis’ investments go from an average of 4 billion euros per year (4.4 billion in 2022) to consistently over 5 billion invested each year. This increase is largely linked to the connections of renewable energy and EVCI.

Key Figures of Enedis

As the operator of an increasingly digital, connected, intelligent, and bidirectional electricity distribution network, real backbone of the ecological transition, Enedis develops, operates, and modernises the largest European distribution network and the associated data:

  • 38,000 employees across 800 sites.
  • A regional actor: 25 regional divisions.
  • 37 million customers / Customer satisfaction rate increasing in 2021: 86.8%.
  • 1.4 million km of power lines in France (equivalent to 35 times the Earth’s circumference): the largest European network.
  • Investments: an average of 4 billion euros per year, with over 1 billion dedicated to network resilience and modernisation (4.4 billion in 2022). The amount of these investments will be consistently over 5 billion per year. Enedis is one of the leading local investors in France.
  • Approximately 90% of onshore renewable energies are connected to the public electricity distribution network. By the end of 2022, over 630,000 photovoltaic installations are connected to the distribution network, including nearly 240,000 in individual self-consumption.
  • The network operated by Enedis has reliability consistently above 99.9% and an average close to 99.99%.
  • More than 35.6 million Linky meters are installed in France.

5 Convictions in the service of France's second electrification

1. The public electricity distribution network has significant collective value

The public electricity distribution network is a unique model of public service that fosters solidarity among regions.

  • Enedis provides all its customers with a uniform electricity transmission tariff throughout France, based on national solidarity. It is not dependent on location (rural or urban) or the distance needed to transmit electricity.
  • It's important to note that the network itself belongs to local communities, who trust Enedis: nearly 95% of concession contracts are already renewed for 25 to 30 years.

With its mutualisation value, the public electricity distribution network enables collaboration between regions exporting renewable energy (producers) and other regions as consumption centers. It also ensures universal access to electricity with an excellent reliability rate.

  • The electrical system interconnects clients (producers and consumers) at European, national, and local levels.
  • This mutualisation allows both the electrical connection for the injection of the generated energy and economies of scale related to the concept of backup in case of an incident or maintenance.
  • This mutualisation contributes to the reliability of the network, consistently exceeding 99.99%.

2. The national/local model of Enedis is essential to support the ecological transition in regions

Enedis' investments rely on a national vision coordinated with national stakeholders of the electrical system, leveraging the advantages of a national-scale operator (expertise, industrial policy, economies of scale, IT). Simultaneously, it involves dialogue and consultation at the local level (concession contracts) based on the values of local proximity.

This dual-level operation ensures a balance between addressing national challenges of ecological transition, energy independence, and territorial solidarity, and meeting local expectations regarding the development and attractiveness of each region.

Enedis is a unique actor in the regions, with a deep understanding of multiple local concerns through its 25 regional divisions and 800 sites in France.

3. One of Enedis' expertises is the ability to optimise and sequence investments in a complex, uncertain environment with multiple stakes

Enedis must invest in technical and economic optimisation, meaning under the best cost and technical efficiency conditions.

  • The goal is to achieve the best possible use of public funds and control the evolution of  public electricity networks utilisation tariff (TURPE in French : Tarif d'Utilisation du Réseau Public d'Electricité) for all French citizens.
  • Methods supporting the decisions for Enedis' investments go beyond merely assessing the exceeding of maximum transit capacity or the age of an electrical cable.
  • They delve deeper, seeking an optimum between the known present and various possible futures, taking into account multiple parameters such as evolving connection demands, incidents due to climatic uncertainties, the long-term operability of the network, technical standards, the ability to address multiple network challenges simultaneously, environmental impact, etc.
  • Enedis’ preparatory work for the Network Development Plan demonstrates how the company proceeds to find these optima, revealing the long-term thinking that ultimately allows Enedis to achieve a daily reliability rate of 99.99% at a controlled cost.

4. Investment methods must remain stable over time to maintain a long-term course

Enedis makes investment choices for its assets and infrastructure with a medium to long-term perspective.

  • Efficient management of a distribution network the size of Enedis' (1.4 million km of power lines, equivalent to 35 times the Earth’s circumference) requires the ability to sequence and prioritise medium-to-long-term investments.
  • Enedis makes decisions about installing equipment with a lifespan of over 40 years and should only modify major technical choices with caution and based on sufficient experience: methods must remain stable over time.

5. Investment methods must adapt to an accelerating pace with ecological transition

The major role of the public electricity distribution network will intensify in the coming years to address the fight against climate change.

Enedis is committed to developing new levers to enhance the network's performance and new uses of electricity by experimenting with innovative solutions such as local flexibilities.

  • Local flexibility involves a temporary increase or decrease in the electrical power of a generation or consumption site owned by a customer connected to the public electricity distribution network.
  • This power modulation, at Enedis' request, occurs during a specific period to contribute to a temporary and local need in the electricity network. Examples:
    • Temporarily reducing the electrical power of a wind farm or a solar generation site during peak generation or consumption lows in an area to connect more renewable energies without additional network work.
    • Temporarily reducing the consumption of willing customers to continue supplying all customers in the event of a localised network incident.
    • The company uses local flexibilities to accommodate more renewable energies on the electrical network and contribute to network performance.
    • In particular, Enedis leads the ReFlex project to optimise the sizing of primary substations, equipment located at the boundary between very high and high voltage lines of RTE and medium and low voltage lines managed by Enedis.
    • ReFlex complements a range of recent developments in Enedis' methods to increase the capacity of the network to connectgeneration installations.

The fifth conviction around the agility of investment methods is illustrated by the company's position at the top of the "Smart Grid Index" by Singapore Power Group, for the second consecutive year (global ranking of smart grids).

By allowing, through its pedagogy, a shared understanding of existing investment methods, this preliminary document to Enedis' Network Development Plan serves as a valuable tool for exchanging with stakeholders on Enedis’ methods and, where applicable, their potential future directions.

Focus on Investment Forecast Reference 

Scenario from Enedis' Preliminary Document for the Network Development Plan

For its preliminary document, Enedis adopts a reference scenario for the connection trajectory with the following key elements:

  • A stable number of new customer connections per year over time, resulting from various effects: a slowdown in demographic growth and a decrease in the average number of inhabitants per dwelling projected by INSEE, leading to an annual evolution of the number of housing units comparable to current rates.
  • Renewable energy: currently, nearly 90% of terrestrial renewable energies are connected to the public electricity distribution network operated by Enedis in continental France. There is an anticipation of a significant acceleration in the pace of EnR connections, primarily due to photovoltaics (target by the end of 2032, based on the french multiannual energy plan (PPE): 28 GW of wind power and 42 GW of photovoltaics connected to the french public distribution network, representing a connection of 4 to 5 GW/year of renewable energy within the scope of Enedis). As of the end of 2022, over 630,000 photovoltaic installations are connected to the distribution network, including nearly 240,000 in individual self-consumption (their number doubles every 18 months! They were 3,000 in 2015).
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructures (EVCI): Enedis is committed to the entire spectrum of clean mobility, including connecting charging infrastructure in residential collective building parking lots, connecting public charging stations with infrastructure master plans for electric vehicle charging, managing large multi-connector accounts (hypermarkets, charging operators, highway concessionaires, etc.), electrifying ports, electrifying bus fleets, etc. In April 2022, France surpassed one million connected charging points on the public electricity distribution network, reflecting a dynamic and interest among the French for this new electric use. 100% of EVCI is and will be connected to the public electricity distribution network. By 2032, France will have 13 million electric and hybrid vehicles (Enedis forecast).

Costed trajectory for 2027 and 2032

Summary of annual investment amounts within the Enecis perimeter, by main purpose

In total, investments will increase from 4.4 billion euros in 2022 to over 5 billion per year by 2032 to address the challenges of ecological transition and maintain network performance. It is noteworthy that, in the preliminary document to the Network Development Plan, the reference assumption for 2022 investments considers the amount of 4 billion euros (constant 2021 euros, with no allowance for inflation). This assumption was established before the close of the fiscal year.

The 2027 milestone (5.5 billion of 2021 euros, with no allowance for inflation) exceeds the figure for the year 2032 due to a peak in construction, anticipated at that time, of EVCI in condominiums. In the subsequent years, connections continue to occur, but on infrastructure that is already largely completed.

1. Article 32 of the European Directive 2019/944 on the internal electricity market, a component of the "Clean Energy Package," was transposed into French law by the ordinance of March 3, 2021, creating a new Article L322-11 in the Energy Code.