France’s ten-year energy strategy (the Programmation Pluriannuelle de l’Énergie, or PPE) was presented on Tuesday, November 27, by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, and the Minister of Ecological Transition, François de Rugy.
Two strong choices were announced at the presentation: the ending the production of fossil energies through appropriate and concerted solutions in all regions, but also prioritizing energy efficiency, with a desire to speed up and simplify support mechanisms. Responding to these positions, Didier Holleaux, Executive Vice President of ENGIE, said: “We applaud the declarations made today by President Macron and the French Government, which very largely coincide with the strategy on energy transition that ENGIE has developed.”
Interviewed by BFM Business, Isabelle Kocher said that the President’s declarations were of capital importance: “I think that this restores France to a position of leadership, because at last it gives the idea of a competitive ecological transition. What struck me most about yesterday’s announcements was the emphasis on energy savings […]. The potential is considerable: just by being careful about our behavior we can make 10% to 15% savings. If you change your equipment, your boiler for instance, you can make a 30% saving. I don’t think we are going to finance the energy transition by increasing energy bills, or with public money: our core business is energy savings.”
The national energy strategy also places a strong emphasis on green energies, particularly gas, which will become greener through the aim that was confirmed of achieving 10% biomethane by 2030. This announcement pleased Didier Holleaux, who highlighted “the important role conferred on gas and the restatement of the target of 10% biomethane by 2030, although we would have been willing to support a more ambitious goal. Nonetheless, we welcome the fact that the Government has retained this target.”
The ambition that was announced of developing a new industrial sector corresponds to reality for ENGIE, as Isabelle Kocher confirmed to BFM Business: “We recently announced a €800 million investment plan over the next few years on biogas alone, which means real industrial installations. The Government’s target is 10% by 2030, but we are currently taking steps to go faster than that.”
ENGIE also welcomed the ambitions for developing renewable electric energies using onshore wind and photovoltaic technologies – tripling onshore wind and multiplying solar by five by 2030 – to which must be added offshore wind. “In terms of offshore wind energy, we would really like to see something that hasn’t yet been specified: we think that floating offshore turbines should be included in the solutions to be developed, and that they should be included in calls for tenders," remarked Didier Holleaux.
Last but not least, the announcement that hydrogen is seen as a solution for industry and as a means of ensuring the security and flexibility of the electricity system was welcomed very positively by ENGIE.
More broadly, these announcements present a diversified vision of the French energy mix, in a spirit of co-construction with the regions that the Group is already putting in practice. ENGIE will engage fully in the process of consultation called for by the Government over the next three months, with the desire of seeing competitive biomethane “at a reasonable price that is adapted to the type of project we are developing” and the choice of high-performance solutions for electrifying the heating of residential and business premises.