Sébastien Treyer

The social divide seems to be a fact in most geographies. Do you think that the big project of the decarbonisation of energy could be a partial answer by facilitating the access to the energy, source of development and well-being?

Energy decarbonisation is about finding innovative forms of energy access and use, which can be fully compatible with better access of people to essential services, and bring benefits in terms of reducing air pollution: non-centralized production of renewable energy in rural territories in India, electric mototaxis in Uganda… The sufficiently rapid diffusion of these innovations is a real challenge, but it is a double emergency: social and environmental. In Europe, the challenge is the transformation of uses, and we can see that it takes time to give users alternative options for access to mobility (both individual vehicles and transport services), which are more environmentally friendly and socially just.

What is the geopolitical impact of new technologies on the current organization of the world of energy dominated by fossil producers?

The exit of fossil energies will imply very strong reconfigurations: reconversions of territories whose economy depends on coal or oil, but these are in any case imperative from an economic point of view; modification of the relations of dependence between countries and improvement of the energy security of the countries today very dependent on the imports of oil and gas, since the potential of renewable is better distributed geographically than the fossil energies; new economic opportunities around renewable technologies or energy efficiency. [The IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) report on the geopolitics of energy transformation points out that] overall, the world should be more stable, the courses less volatile and the conflicts less acute in a carbon-free world.

What is decentralization for you and what are the challenges for the energy world?

In industrialized countries, demand for energy is high and the networks are already developed: decentralization should make it possible to adapt the energy system to achieve carbon neutrality as set out in the Paris Agreement climate targets, with particular focus on solutions based on the complementarity of existing energy networks (electricity, gas, heating). In developing countries, where energy demand is increasing sharply, it is possible to move much more quickly and invest directly in a decentralized energy system, provided that this facilitates access to technologies and financing, thanks in particular to international cooperation.