Decarbonising our regions: an obligation... and many opportunities!

By ENGIE - 17 November 2021 - 15:18

Our country's target for carbon neutrality by 2050 obviously applies to regions. But the challenge is so much more than an obligation - it also offers many opportunities for regions to (re)vitalise their economic growth, their jobs, their appeal, etc.


To decarbonise our economy and achieve neutrality by 2050, public authorities are taking a number of measures: promoting energy efficiency in industry and housing, developing renewables as a replacement for all or a proportion of traditional energy sources, promoting energy sufficiency, etc. 


>> Further reading: What is decarbonisation? <<


This proactive policy consists of huge subsidies to support industrial decarbonisation through the national France Relance recovery programme, the France 2030 investment plan for energy transition and decarbonisation, and the French law on energy transition for green growth, which sets the share of renewables at 32% of final energy consumption by 2030. But all this cannot be effective without the input of French regions. Local authorities must get on board to implement the approach at a local level and encourage as many people as possible - businesses, individuals, etc. - to participate, to launch green projects...


A green recovery that will create jobs

But is it simply an obligation? The answer is clearly no! When it comes to employment, for example, many studies have shown that a green recovery policy helps create jobs. The French Agency for Ecological Transition (Ademe) estimates that 540,000 jobs could be created by 2030, particularly in the building, transport and industry sectors, with as many as one million new jobs by 2050. In this respect, the example of biomethane or green gas is particularly relevant: installing methane units as close as possible to our region's farms boosts local and non-relocatable employment. It is estimated that for each unit installed, three to four direct jobs involving unit operations and maintenance are created.


More appealing regions

As environmental issues become increasingly crucial, taking action for the planet has also become a determining factor in terms of appeal. This is the case for companies, many of which are promoting a proactive approach in order to attract talent, but it is also true for regions. A low carbon footprint is increasingly seen as a key factor for developing a region's capacity to attract both individual citizens and economic stakeholders. So a vast number of local authorities have begun making huge investments to improve their regions' carbon footprint. 


Throughout France, regions are adopting decarbonisation policies 

In Dunkirk, in the north of France, the "Dunkirk, creative energy" project brings together businesses and public authorities, with the support of the French government. Everybody is on the same page when it comes to making this leading industrial basin a model of France's low-carbon industry. By 2030, investments of over three billion euros will have helped the port of Dunkirk to set up CO2 and hydrogen ecosystems. 
Just like in Dunkirk, local authorities from all over France have realised the scope of opportunity offered by decarbonisation and are taking concrete action to turn plans into reality. As the energy transition steps up, the challenges faced by regions and industrial players converge, boosting synergies and joint projects. This is great news for net zero carbon pledges!