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French households rely heavily on electricity for heating, which can seriously strain the power grid in winter months. If the temperature drops by one degree Celsius, electricity demand increases by 2,400 megawatts — the equivalent of Marseille and Lyon's combined consumption.
Aiming to involve citizens in keeping the grid up and running, the country's main television channels now include energy forecasts as part of their daily weather reports. The data is produced by Ecowatt, which uses traffic light colors to indicate the current state of the grid: green means 'normal' and no problems expected, orange 'strained' and red 'very strained,' with a risk of power cuts.
EcoWatt bases its four-day forecasts on predicted temperatures, technical issues, the amount of wind and sun available for renewables, and levels of electricity imports.
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