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The “Energy Union” package aims to provide affordable, safe and sustainable energy for Europe and its citizens. The EU must reduce spending on energy imports. These imports cost about 350 billion euros a year, making the EU the largest energy importer in the world.
The “Energy Union” package aims to provide affordable, safe and sustainable energy for Europe and its citizens. The EU must reduce spending on energy imports. These imports cost about 350 billion euros a year, making the EU the largest energy importer in the world. In addition, the EU must achieve the goals of the 2030 Climate and Energy framework objectives for fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. The European Union must also modernise urban infrastructures, integrate its energy markets and coordinate national energy prices.
At the same time, the EU is integrating more sub-state levels into its policies, programs and other development instruments. It dedicates several support and funding mechanisms that facilitate the emergence and implementation of local projects. Yet, the European design must now find a popular base between local authorities and rely on new partnerships and new funding sources. In this context, the link between the European institutions and the local authorities is strategic.
In light of electoral deadlines, taking into account the awareness of citizens, local elected representatives, States and the European Union, aware that a new dynamic requires increased visibility with the European institutions, governments and Parliaments of the Union countries, it seems appropriate to take an offensive action to promote regions, energy and environmental agencies, community associations and their members as well as all public & private decision-makers and highlight innovations, exchanges of experience and project development.
This is the ambition of the “General Journal of Europe” through the opening of a Dossier dedicated specifically to energy, the energy transition and the environment. At the heart of Europe’s political, economic, social and cultural society, the General Journal of Europe is today positioned as the institutional press organisation of reference. It is intended for all European institutions and MEPs, but also for member governments and their parliamentarians, investment banks, European development agencies, national offices in Brussels and European offices abroad and to all public and private decision-makers in Europe.
“We must prevent the presence of plastic in our water and our food, and even in our bodies. This is a challenge that citizens, businesses and governments face together. With this new EU plastics strategy, we are also promoting a new and more circular business model.”
The European Union has just launched a new package of measures to support and mobilise players of the energy transition. An industrial revolution carried by the territories and their elected representatives.
What is Europe’s energy situation?
The European Union is one step ahead. Our method of decoupling economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions has paid off. The numbers speak for themselves. Since 1990, the European economy has experienced a cumulative growth of almost 50%, while our greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by more than 22%. We must continue the effort. Many countries ask us to share our experience. At the same time, our industrial investors demand clear signals. Therefore, we must build a legislative framework that provides stability and accelerates the energy transition at all levels.
What’s in the new, recently adopted package of measures: ‘Clean energy for all Europeans – unlocking Europe’s growth potential’?
This package includes a reorganisation of the electricity market, but also the promotion of energy efficiency, the protection of consumers, the renovation of buildings, research and innovation in clean energy and the competitiveness of our industry. It is also part of a logic of creating sustainable jobs and investment. By mobilising up to 117 billion euros of public and private funds per year until 2021, it should allow a 1% increase in GDP over the next decade and create 900,000 jobs.
How does the European Commission take local authorities into account in its energy transition strategy?
I am in the habit of saying that the European Energy Union should not be done in Brussels, but in a decentralised way in our Member States, our territories, our cities. Thanks to all the players on the ground: citizens, companies, start-ups, researchers … This transition, which is not only energetic, is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges of our century.
The territories are at the heart of this transformation and this industrial revolution. Closer to the consumers, the local elected officials put in place public policies adapted to the needs of their citizens. In a context of increasing decentralisation and democratisation of energy production, their role is crucial.
Do local politicians respond to Europe’s call?
In 2015, we launched the new European Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. More than 6,500 signatories have thus committed themselves to the implementation of the European objectives on their territory. More than 200 million urban inhabitants of the European Union are concerned. And the initiative is international, with the global Covenant of Mayors led by Michael Bloomberg, which brings together 7,000 signatories, 119 countries on 6 continents representing more than 600 million inhabitants.
Our work at the European level is to support and mobilise the decision-makers. With the help of the French Presidency, we were able to sign and ratify the Paris Global Climate Agreement in record time. My conviction is that the international community will remain imperturbable in its fight against global warming. So Europe and the cities have the same fight! Fight against global warming. Fight for the well-being of their fellow citizens. But also fight for investment, growth and employment.
“Our plastic strategy lays the foundation for a new circular economy for plastics and attracts investment, while offering new opportunities for innovation, competitiveness and high-level jobs. “
“Integrate the imperative of fighting global warming into the rules of the financial markets.”
«A new ambition for energy efficiency in Europe»
Focus on decarbonisation, ensure the financing of deployment and research in the field of alternative energies, infrastructures, vehicles, ships and clean aircraft, and especially a better organization of mobility, main networks, cities and villages. However, the most difficult task is to raise awareness about green mobility and to ensure behavior change that will bring us all closer to the circular economy.
How is the cohesion policy important for the regions and the European project?
In the first place, I think it is important to emphasize that cohesion policy can benefit all regions. This project was created with the aim of levelling out the inequalities that exist between the different regions of Europe.
This cohesion policy is also the main investment tool in a crisis situation. Thus, during the last financial crisis, while some states have already paid in retirement and pensions, the first budget cuts have invariably affected investments. Several countries, including Greece, have received full funding for their investments from European funds.
In some countries, notably in Eastern Europe, the European Union still finances 80% of public investment. And the richest regions are not left out. In fact, wherever pockets of poverty persist, Europe invests significant resources in public structures, such as hospitals and schools.
While working on our own modernisation for several years, we are working to better meet the needs of the regions, both in terms of infrastructure and research and innovation; these two components are the real engines of growth, and that’s why the pursuit of the cohesion policy seems to me, essential today.
Today, we are here to highlight the importance of cohesion policy and to increase our visibility and, above all, to make our proposals heard in all European regions. According to our figures, more than 70% of Europeans do not know that it’s Europe that directly finances the schools where their children study, the hospitals that treat them or the roads they use every day. It is, therefore, necessary for me to be aware of the extent of European commitment in such fundamental areas. This commitment is essential to express the social and economic solidarity between the Member States.
What role do you think regions will play in the future of the European project?
Regions are of paramount importance, and I am committed to representing them in the various commissions. Of course, I defend their development needs, especially when resources at the national level are insufficient.
We have just celebrated 30 years of cohesion policy, and we hope to continue our mission for the next 30 years! We would also like to help all regions of the Member States to improve the quality of life of their inhabitants because this is our ultimate goal.
Conducting a cohesion policy is not an end in itself; our objectives are concrete: to improve the quality of a citizen’s life, their safety, their health, to participate in the fight against climate change, or to invest in innovation and research. We are working on many fronts, so I think that the specialisation strategies put in place by the regions to strengthen their strengths will pay off. Of course, not all regions are designed to look like Silicon Valley, but they are rich in many other important specialties, such as agribusiness or aeronautics. Always with a view to improving the quality of life, it is very important to work hand-in-hand with the regions, at the local level with the mayors and on a larger scale with the regional presidents.
What conclusions do you draw from this morning’s meeting?
The main purpose of this meeting was to report on the number of organisations supporting cohesion policies. This initiative, therefore, seems to be positive for the millions of citizens who are directly concerned, as well as for the Heads of State and the European Commission.
On 2 May, the committee will present its draft for the next EU financial period. The future of cohesion policy is found among the main legislators.
Cities and regions are the closest to citizens in terms of the environment and circular economy, they have the power to drive change through the power of public control, but they must combine their actions with the private sector, especially in terms of innovation.
You will be celebrating your 25th birthday in 2019, could you come back to the creation of your institution, its evolutions and your positioning today vis-à-vis the other European institutions.
In Europe, as everywhere else, everything is changing. The Committee of the Regions was created in 1994 by the Maastricht Treaty to give local and regional authorities a voice.
At the time of its creation, it was not obvious. There were, at the same time, people convinced of its uselessness as there were people who wanted to make it a real decision-making body.
So the committee was set up as an advisory body just like the economic and social committee, and since then it has tried to find its place and I think it has gradually found it. The committee has the privilege of having to be asked about all the commission’s initiatives concerning local and regional authorities, but people are not obliged to follow its advice. So if you want to have an impact, the voice is simple enough. We must do what is necessary so that those who decide are ready to listen to you.
It is, therefore, a very intense relationship work to do with the parliament, the commission and the council. On the other hand, you must try to convince by the quality of what you say and there, the great strength of this committee, is that it’s the spokesman of the democratic institutions closest to the European citizen.
The European citizen does not live in the Council or the European Parliament, he lives where local and regional authorities deploy their activities and this is where he will finally judge Europe: “Is it something positive that improves my life, gives me hope, for me, my family and my grandchildren, or it’s something that bothers me, unnecessary constraints, that prevents me from evolving and that even as a result of pushing social standards down.
Through the quality of our advice, we can try to convey the views of citizens and local and regional organizations. Then, perhaps most importantly at the end, you can have great ideas and you may also have found the access to give notice and make you listen but the weight of what you say ultimately depends on what you have behind you.
The real strength is the fact that there are some 150,000 local authorities in the European Union, some 300 regions and if all these authorities, all these communities, become aware that they have something to do with our committee to evolve the European decision-makers then it becomes something that has some weight.
The history of our institution is a bit like the legislatures, but above all, we must improve our efficiency, and we want a process like that. If for the moment it may have become a little easier because we feel that in Europe something is wrong and we also feel that it is with the citizen that it does not work, then this opens a window to give weight to what citizens feel and say, and that’s what we want to do through the various operations we have launched.
Is it actually reducing the gap between European citizens and the European institutions?
Yes, there is a gap, but above all, there must be interconnectivity. On the one hand, the citizen must understand what Europe is doing, and sometimes Europe really has an art of explaining itself in such a way that at most what it says is understandable, and on the other hand it is also necessary that what is often said in a very simple way people reaches up to the ears and minds of European decision-makers. Things still remain to be done, even in the era of globalised digital communication, not all connections are not always in place.
You have launched a very important consultation entitled “Think about Europe” – we already see that important results are coming. With the positioning that you have I think of the task force on subsidiarity with the possibility of operating, or in any case, there is more than a consultation since it can be almost a possibility of blocking with this consultation. Today what are you expecting from this consultation? Will you assume all the results you receive because there is always a risk to consult and how will you use this consultation vis-à-vis the European institutions?
Before talking about this initiative “Think about Europe” maybe a word on how to participate in this kind of operation that’s an opportunity but obviously a risk. When you play in a room there’s always a risk.
We have already been able to be useful partners in many reflections on changes at the European level. I’m thinking of the task force on reducing red tape some time ago, I am thinking of an initiative to implement the Nature 2000 regulations on the pressure of nature and now with the subsidiarity taskforce, it really becomes a centrepiece that will be created. The commission decided to create this task force, it invited three partners, and two agreed to come: the national parliaments via their association and the committee of the regions. The European Parliament has not decided to associate for a lot of reasons of its own. For us this is a huge opportunity for two reasons: we are already, by the Treaty of Maastricht and even more that of Lisbon, little guardians of subsidiarity. We have the opportunity to intervene in the control procedures and we especially have the right to go to the court of law. A right that is sometimes more intelligent to mention the exercise only to actually do, but we are currently on a question where it is not excluded once we take this step. But subsidiarity is already something that plays a very big role in our work, just as it plays a very big role in the work of a lot of local authorities, especially in legislatures which, following the situation of internal law sometimes play a very active role.
We are a little in the heart of our raison d’être, but more importantly, even if it is difficult to define what is subsidiarity and even if behind the vocation of this principle often hide very divergent political objectives , one thing is certain, one doesn’t need be a doctoral dissertation writer to know that subsidiarity means that one begins first to exercise the skills where one is closer to the citizen. And here we are at the level of local authorities so this is the starting point. When I decided that the government should take care of something, and sometimes it is better to let people do the work but there are also great needs for political and public actions, so subsidiarity tells you first – let’s see if it can be done by the local authorities and then we need objective reasons or to objectify or objectifiable to say no, it is necessary to act at a national or European level. Subsidiarity is therefore a methodology, we must give the instruments, we must give a rationality. However, it is still at the end a political choice because according to the option I take for a certain policy I have a need for action at European level or on the contrary it is important not to act at this level. There is a good debate to be made and the definition of the tasks of the task force have been made in a very pragmatic way in three parts: first, improve the technique of subsidiarity control – “it’s something for the subsidiarity experts and there is a lot to say about that.” Then: what must be regulated at the European level, at the state and sub-national level – this is the real debate on the role of the European Union and then lastly, but also technical point – it concerns us existentially: what role should territorial governments play in this debate (subsidiarity) and the fact that the question is being asked already has meaning.
This question means at least two things: local authorities are not only and exclusively a question of the internal organization of a state. This is something that can have meaning in the way of managing the destiny of Europe and if that’s the case then it also means, if we think a little further, that it is absolutely necessary to have some form of decentralization so that it can work.
And there, look at the 27 states of the European Union after Brexit, or look at the 47 states of the Council of Europe where this exercise is used as well. So you see a tremendous diversity and maybe the Committee of the Regions is a place where this diversity is known, where we work on this issue, where we make comparisons, where we develop strategies, where we have ideas that are ideas solidly based on the everyday everyone’s experience. This is a really exciting goal. So will it lead to the big solution for all European problems, if you ask me the question, I would say that it can be a success, and it can be in any case a moment of clarification. For us, it will be in any case something that will serve us a lot for the reflection on our own future.
I believe that there are basically two aspects when I look at the social problem in relation to Europe. There are issues that Europe needs to be in control of, and then there’s also the rest where it’s important to look at what aspects of the policy in this social-environmental economic sector that needs to be addressed at the national and sub-national level or should be managed in Europe – That’s a nice debate and it’s really about the future of Europe.
This consultation seems to me essential and really important to sensitise the citizen and moreover on the eve of the European elections, but how do you get the message to say that you have real weight and that they have to talk now because you will be heard?
First, to reposition and reframe things, it is an attempt at clarification that can lead to results but no one can tell you what will be done with these results.
The only thing we know is that if we finish on time, the Austrian Presidency has said that it wants to make this debate a priority for the next six months. But I believe more fundamentally that Europe should now, before the European elections, manage to settle a number of things so that they are well on track. Compared to citizens I do not feel that he will now change his mind about Europe because somehow more or less intelligent people are thinking about subsidiarity. No, I believe that for the citizens the thing is actually simpler: as long as in his mind Europe is Brussels, Luxembourg or Strasbourg “these people in Brussels” and as long as he did not understand that the real European decision-maker must be where he lives with his local leaders and as long as every mayor, every regional leader, does not conceive as fundamentally as a European politician, we will not have arrived at a good destination. People live politics as a result and when you explain to them, “no it’s not me it’s the other one, it was not me the mayor, or it’s the president of the European Commission or Ministers x or y.” You can make speeches but you will not convince people of the value of the policy. The whole thing has to be integrated and here what is done in Europe has to be really understood and also implemented at local and regional level. What happens there must be the basis of what is decided in Europe or at least one of the bases of what is taking shape in Europe – and this process is stuck.
So with “Think about Europe” we try to change things, also without too many illusions, how many attempts at citizen dialogue have we already lived for fifteen years. Hundreds and hundreds of initiatives by the commission, by the parliament, by the national information offices, by everybody, by citizen initiatives, associations, many people do that. The thing we’re talking about most now is the initiative launched by the French president with its democratic conventions that now become citizen consultations so already semantically it becomes very interesting to analyse. There really is a certain helplessness which is reflected in the fact that everyone is trying to imagine dialogues, but at the same time, it is also a necessity and an opportunity. Today, I believe that European and national decision-makers are much more aware than before that there is really a need to do this and also at the Committee of the Regions we responded to a request from Mr Tusk at the time. We have tried with our means, with our members, with our possibilities for action in the communities to do something and to initiate debates. But for us now the most important thing is to land safely. We have already created the runway on which we want to land, our runway is our annual debate on the state of the union seen by local authorities that we made for the first time in October 2017 and will repeat in 2018. We will make it culminate with a very strong message at the upcoming Summit of European Cities and Regions before the Grand Summit states and government heads of state. Then we will redo a debate in October 2019 with the new parliament and the new commission. Now we try to condense the messages to avoid both the trap of too much technicality but also the trap, at least as big, too many phrases formulating banalities and that it is an effort that must be done now and it’s not that simple. But the key is also to be so attentive that we also perceive a nuance, a citizen debate in the south of Italy is not the same as a debate in eastern Poland or center of Germany or west of France.
Can we say that one of your missions today during your mandate is to convince even more territorial elected officials?
In relation to our mission and our structural capacity, our first recipient is the regional and locally-elected representative. We, the senior vice-president and others, try very hard to be present in elected associations. I visited an activity for example in the context of the conference of mayors of France and we regularly receive associations of Greek, German or Polish municipalities, it is very important to have contacts with associations but also with people themselves. Obviously, we can not make an appointment with each of the 150 000 mayors, but sometimes we have the opportunity to discuss with a hundred mayors in half a day, and that’s something extremely rich in lessons.
Do you think that the members of the committee or those you represent are satisfied today? Do you have any means to judge or analyse this satisfaction?
I do not need many ways to know that we still have a long way to go, but we still measure a little and sometimes there are some encouraging results but we must move much more. It’s a tremendous job and you have to start all over again because elected officials change, but it’s good, and that’s what’s concrete. We must try to combine the possibilities for all our members to be in situations where they can talk with colleagues or citizens about what are the major issues at the level of Europe at the beginning of the 21st century and what that we can do concretely on the ground on subjects such as climate, public investment, for example, social justice on subjects that are just naturally appropriate for this type of exercise.
What do you think of the announced multi-annual financial framework for cohesion funds?
It’s necessary to really approach the policy of cohesion with all the available horns! It’s fundamental! It’s a priority! We are fierce advocates of cohesion policy. We have taken a clear position and said that we want a strong cohesion policy endowed with substantial resources and open to all regions without any kind of conditionality. That was a strong message that is widely shared, and we see a lot of people who defend most of this especially recently by a joint resolution of the German Länder and the French regions that are still not anything in Europe. Moreover, we also know that at the end of all this, we will talk about money and when we talk about that the friendship is often limited a little bit. We look at what it brings back. But this debate on the long-term financial perspective is fundamental. Now, unfortunately, we really have something to defend and that is not so much in the context of a subsidiarity task force. This is rather our action here with reporters very active on different aspects. More importantly, we launched what is called a “Cohesion Alliance”, where we try to gather as many people as possible on nine specific points and spent a lot of time gathering signatures for this Alliance. We want to put pressure on this subject that is necessary because nothing comes by itself. The budgets for 2020-2030 are in preparation, it is the substance of the debate and with the exit from England, we now know that these budgets will be somewhat limited.
Regarding the European budget, If Europe is really this big after the War project then fantastic, who survives during the enlargement and the crisis, and how could we believe that 1% of the GDP could be enough?
It’s actually ridiculous. If we want to get out of this rotten debate net contributors when in reality everyone was net beneficiary of Europe, as the German Foreign Minister recently said in a forum, and it doesn’t matter if it comes from that side. If we want to get out of this we have to have a real system of own resources.
We will have no miracle, and we will have the consequences of Brexit. We’ll have a need for funding for new tasks and will have somewhere to land with a budget between 1.1% and 1.3%, as asked by the parliament.
We will need creativity and ideas to keep our policy alive and continue to develop. It is also a subject on which the committee spends a lot of time.
With 230 million inhabitants today, the text launched in 2008 is a success of unequalled magnitude. The action plans of the signatory communities result in massive investments in the energy transition.
How many cities have signed the Covenant of Mayors?
Originally, the European Commissioner for Energy hoped to convince 25 cities, including 15 major ones. Nine years later, the Convention opened to the world. It has 7,300 signatories from 58 countries (including 86 in France), of which 80% in the European Union, totalling 230 million inhabitants. There are both major metropolises, such as London or Paris, but also Quart de Poblet, my little native village, in Spain.
What does the text impose on local authorities?
Joining the Covenant of Mayors is a voluntary initiative. By signing it, the communities formally commit to going beyond the European targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (- 20% by 2020, – 40% by 2030) but also adaptation to climate change. A third component has recently been added: the fight against fuel poverty. In the two years following the signature, the cities must present an action plan, then a report of the progress of the commitments and finally, an evaluation carried out by an independent third party. Europe provides a framework, but communities are then free to organise as they see fit to achieve the goals they have set for themselves.
What results have been achieved since the launch of the Convention?
Today, 5,600 action plans are in progress, the first having been presented in 2011. On average, the reduction in GHG emissions should reach 27% of GHG emissions by 2020, a gain of a third on the European objectives! But the commitment to the Covenant of Mayors is not only a climatic issue, it is also an economic and social opportunity. By 2030, there were 4,500 cities investing 130 billion euros in building renovation, public transport, infrastructure, decentralised energy production, and so on. A multitude of operations that will also create a lot of jobs.
Does the signing of the Convention give the right to European aid?
Not directly. Otherwise, the whole value of the local initiative, all the political commitment, would be lost. On the other hand and like all the municipalities, the signatories can benefit from the European structural funds which are, henceforth, in France, managed by the Regions, via the regional agencies of the Energy, and with the approval of the State. It would be wonderful if there was more support from the French authorities for the cities that are committed to the Covenant of Mayors, as their interventions are essential to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In Italy, for example, state subsidies are conditional on the adoption of an energy climate plan that meets our criteria.
What are the relations of the Commission with the conceding authorities, the unions, the governed?
I think that they are absolutely fundamental actors because they have a territorial mission, a sharp know-how and especially, a vision of the energy demand. Because the offer, you have it in France! They also have the political legitimacy to establish a counter-power to the quasi-monopoly of the incumbent operator.
Believe in us, because we are going to keep at it!
Could you talk to us about the Metropolis of Greater Paris? What are your tasks and responsibilities?
Created since January 1, 2016, the Metropolis of Greater Paris (814 km² with 8598 inhabitants per km²) is a public institution of intercommunal co-operation with its own taxation of 131 communes belonging to the continuous urban dense zone. Its perimeter includes Paris, the 36 cities of Hauts-de-Seine, the 40 municipalities of Seine-Saint-Denis, the 47 municipalities of Val-de-Marne, 6 communes of Essonne and the city of Argenteuil du Val d’Oise. With 7.2 million inhabitants and 4.2 million jobs, it represents the leading tertiary hub in Europe and the first tourist destination in the world.
This intercommunality is composed of a metropolitan council of 209 elected representatives representing the 131 member cities, and our office was elected on the basis of shared governance. This means that we exercise our skills in the general interest and in the service of our people.
Our objective, determined by law, is to define and implement metropolitan actions intended to improve the living environment of the inhabitants, to reduce the inequalities between the territories that make up the Metropolis, to develop an urban, social and economic model of sustainable development, and create means of greater attractiveness and competitiveness for the benefit of the entire national territory.
It is in this perspective that we are in charge of developing a metropolitan project that defines the general orientations of the policy carried out by the Metropolis of Greater Paris.
Thus, since 2016, we have an increase in strategic and operational skills in social, economic and cultural development and organization, and in protection and environmental enhancement.
This increase in importance is continuing within the competence of development and that corresponding to the local housing policy that will be fully exercised in the course of 2019. This is a brief map of the Metropolis of Greater Paris which is still, despite its great energy, an infant compared to other communities that have today more than 30 years of existence.
Despite its young age, this EPCI with its own taxation launches for the first time in France unprecedented planning of this scale. And all of our work is carried out head-on, which ensures overall cohesion in the perspective of preparing effectively for the Olympics in 2024.
A synergy is in place within the urban services of the Metropolis of Greater Paris, what are the innovations in place and those to come, as well as your vision for 2020/2030?
In asking this question, it seems to us that you want to know more about the actions and ambitions of the Metropolis! In fact, we have initiated operational actions by launching in 2017 and 2018 two successive competitions entitled “Inventons la Métropole du Grand Paris” (“Let Us Invent the Metropolis of Greater Paris), which are tests of attractiveness of our territory in order to draw private investment in innovative real estate projects. The impact of the 1st contest is as follows:
We have also initiated actions for the benefit of metropolitans through:
And all along this year, without waiting for the reform of the territorial organization of the Ile de France that the President of the Republic has to announce, we will form the strategic documents that are essential to us in the medium and long term. In less than two years, the Metropolis has indeed launched, unprecedentedly in France, the strategic plans of territorial organization of the continuous dense zone. The year 2018 is tantamount to us to a rise in the work of developing planning documents that will strongly appeal to metropolitan elected officials and will lead to phases of consultation with municipalities and territories, partners and inhabitants of the Metropolis; Thus, among the strategic documents of Greater Paris Metropolis are:
In 30 months of existence, the Metropolis of Greater Paris works relentlessly with a tighter team in action and programming.
From your point of view, in what way does this synergy represent a good role model at a national and European level?
Each metropolis is unique in geography, economy and social configuration, but the Metropolis of Greater Paris, by its history and that of its city centre, can neither be compared in its governance nor in its objectives. At the national level it represents 489 billion euros, or 75% of regional GDP and nearly 25% of national GDP; 4 million jobs, 70% of regional jobs and nearly 15% national; 1 million employees enter the metropolis every day to work there; and 38 million m² of offices, being the first park in Europe.
However, exclusion and relegation also affect the populations living in this dense and continuous zone: the poverty rate in the Metropolis of Greater Paris is 18% of the households living there, while in the Paris area it is 15% (national rate 15%) – This means that poverty is greater in the Metropolis of Greater Paris than in Ile de France!
In addition, 158 priority neighbourhoods of the city’s policy, i.e. 35% of the national figure, are located on the territory of the Metropolis of Greater Paris. These are figures that reflect contrasting sociological and economic realities.
This shows that if the metropolis is provider of capital gains and wealth that enhance the attractiveness of France, there certainly live, and surely more than elsewhere, people who suffer from poverty and exclusion! Therefore we do not wish to pose as a role model, but, being in search of efficiency, we look at what is happening beyond our perimeter to, if necessary, inspire us!
Territorial governance, the notion of subsidiarity! Could you give us your point of view on these major issues on the eve of the European elections?
Governance at the level of the Metropolis of Greater Paris was built by going beyond political divisions on the one hand and respecting the identity of the 131 municipalities that are members. Our competences are defined by the law and we defend with determination the power of mayors who are elected officials who are trusted by our fellow citizens. Therefore, the principle of subsidiarity is inscribed in the DNA of the metropolis, which always works for the sake of efficiency. Indeed, the implementation of public policies in the service of citizens on a dense urban territory, like that of the Metropolis of Greater Paris, requires a governance that combines a strategic level that brings an overall vision and that implements actions and major projects of collective interest, along with levels of proximity that work to support the inhabitants for projects and services that meet the needs and particularities of municipalities.
What is the message you would like to convey to citizens at the core of the public service of your metropolis?
The Metropolis of Greater Paris intends to meet the expectations and concerns of the metropolitans, namely to appease long-term concerns about Housing, Employment and Air Quality in particular. These essential topics are or will be the responsibility of the Metropolis of Greater Paris, a young EPCI which, with a mission administration composed for the moment of 40 agents working with determination and enthusiasm, works to improve the framework of life of our fellow citizens. We have faith in the future of a metropolis in the service of humanity! Believe in us, because we will keep at it!
This territory, as its name indicates it, is marked by the Marne, which crosses 9 communes out of 13 and the presence of important natural islands such as the Bois de Vincennes or the Departmental Park of the Tremblay. In addition to this exceptional natural setting, in the immediate vicinity of Paris, one can note the architectural quality of the city centres, the diversity of the webs of habitats, in particular pavilions, and the high level of public service in terms of school, cultural and sports facilities. Paris Est Marne&Bois is distinguished by its exceptional living environment: you can feel as if on holiday or as if in the province all the while being in the metropolis!
It is also a lively territory, made up of a very strong network of very small businesses and SMEs (54% of the companies of Val-de-Marne are implanted on our Territory) which will benefit in the years to come from the metropolitan dynamics with line 15 south and 15 east of Grand Paris Express and major development projects (Charenton-Bercy, Marne Europe Villiers-sur-Marne, Péripole Val-de-Fontenay …).
The Territory has a share of skills called “operational”, such as the management of household waste and water and sanitation, but also skills called “strategic” in the fields of development, environment and economic development. Based on all these skills, the effects of pooling have been rapid: several hundreds of thousands of euros have been saved thanks to a common collection market in several cities, the harmonization of practices and regulations in terms of sanitation to achieve the common goal of bathing in the Marne in 2022, the launch of a climate plan at the scale of 13 cities in order to obtain a framework document to fight against climate change at the local level… On the issues of mobility, economic development or planning, it appears that the Territory is a relevant scale because they are related to the living areas which exceed the municipal boundaries.
We do not have the “environment” competence as such but we integrate the environmental dimension in the management of all our skills (“household and similar waste management”, “water and sanitation”, “development”…). For example, waste management is a fundamental lever for sustainable development and we are also working with schools to set up bio waste collection. This makes it possible for children to be made aware from a very young age of sorting and food wastage as well as the harmonization of sorting instructions to improve the recycling rate of waste or our fleet of dump trucks so that they run on CNG. The fact of being 13 communes allows to “push” the competence, going further than if a municipality had been all alone. We also have a critical size that makes it possible to benefit from subsidies, to launch experiments…
In terms of sanitation we act by several means to reduce pollutant discharges in Marne, to improve connections to the network and even rainwater management.
If the environmental requirement is constitutive of our action and transversal to the various public policies that we lead, it is also expressed through our climate plan, in the process of being drawn up, which will fix for the next 6 years a strategy and an action plan to combat climate change at the level of our territory.
The local inter-communal urban plan (LIUP) is one of the compulsory competencies entrusted by law to the Territories. Completion of a LIUP is a complex, multi-year project to determine the community’s strategic direction for planning and sustainable development. Paris Est Marne&Bois began the reflection by launching workshops with the 13 municipalities on a certain number of themes (the first workshop concerned, for example, the environment) in order to establish an inventory of current rules in urban planning and common goals for the coming years.
The process of metropolisation and the reflection around it has been developing for many years, particularly on the establishment of a governance to organize public policies in this direction at the Ile-de-France. The date of the Metropolitan Conference was more than 10 years ago. The law has put in place an institutional scheme in which the EFA-communes pair is a structuring step for the functioning of this Metropolis of 7 million inhabitants, guaranteeing in particular its local anchorage and the link with the inhabitants.
Our Territory Paris East Marne&Bois is positioned as a “cooperative of cities”, in which each of our municipalities keeps its specificities and its autonomy. The Territory is positioned as a coordinator, a catalyst, on functions and missions that cannot be provided by the municipalities or less well so. It is the whole notion of subsidiarity which consists in entrusting to the higher level, in this case the Territory, only what is necessary and what would be provided less efficiently by the lower level, in this case the municipalities.
The Territory brings added value on several aspects: the realization of economies of scale by the development of common markets or groupings of orders, but also the management of several cross-cutting issues that transcend communal borders such as travel, economic development, the environment…
The territories, from the cities, are there to do to many what is no longer possible to do alone. The extremely constrained budgetary context experienced by the communities must push them to innovate, especially in the context of pooling, experimentation… Our Territory Paris East Marne&Bois has an exceptional living environment, which we want to preserve, while allowing it to be part of the dynamic metropolitan area carrying potential in terms of economic development, transport and housing. The fact of being 13 municipalities allows us to have a voice that carries institutions to defend these projects necessary for the development of eastern Paris.
Could you talk to us about SIAAP? What are your tasks and responsibilities?
Jacques Olivier : Created in 1970 by four departments in the Paris region to ensure the transport and the depollution of their waste water, SIAAP (the Paris urban area wastewater treatment authority) is the Public Service which cleans up the daily wastewater of nearly 9 million Paris region inhabitants, as well as rainwater and industrial water, to make the Seine and Marne water conducive to the development of the natural environment.
Thanks to its 1928 agents, SIAAP cleans up on a 24 hour/7 day basis, nearly 2.5 million m³ of water that it transports by 440 km of emissaries and treats within its 6 purification plants. A Public Sanitation Department, our mission relies on the general interest in the service of the users and the territories with the objective of the performance and the equality of treatment for all.
SIAAP has long been highly invested and committed to sustainable development, could you go back and explain to us your vision of sustainable urban water and the “WATER- Responsible” cities?
Belaide Bedreddine : The goal of the International Water Association (IWA) principles for “Water-Responsible” Cities is to encourage collaborative actions while taking into account 3 paradigms: natural resources are limited and we must do more with less, urban growth is both an opportunity for economic development and a threat to the quality of life, urban planning must take into account various factors of uncertainty such as climate change and population growth.
In this context, SIAAP, as a historic partner of the IWA, accompanies the many elected representatives of the Ile-de-France region and communities who have joined these principles in April 2018 in the implementation of public policies that will make it possible to build the city of tomorrow as resilient and sustainable, and to create a more responsible water management in urban areas. The stakes are high for the challenges posed to large mega-cities and our international intervention also aims to promote new alliances to meet climate challenges.
A synergy is in place within the framework of the major urban services of the Metropolis of Greater Paris, what are the innovations in place and those to come?
B.B : We have chosen to initiate cooperation with urban public services in the Paris region to concretely optimize our impact in Ile-de-France. Our ambition was to create a loop of urban services that are complementary, innovative and able to act in a coordinated way to serve the inhabitants of the region of Paris. Our cooperation with major urban public services unions such as Syctom, SEDIF, SIPPEREC, SIGEIF and EPTB Seine Grands Lacs has been an opportunity since COP21 to defend our position and our role in the fight against global warming.
J.O : Today, we want to accelerate further the implementation of synergies across the metropolis. For this, we signed on March 29 a strategic protocol with the Metropolis of Greater Paris, bringing together all urban public services in Ile-de-France. The signature of this protocol aims to maintain a dynamic partnership, which is already broken down by transversal work on projects of general interest such as energy management, improvement of air quality, the promotion of the circular economy, the smart city, the place of major metropolitan facilities, urban logistics and adaptation to climate change.
It is therefore on all these subjects that SIAAP, with other major urban unions of Ile-de-France, works on to provide the city with a contribution on the keys of environmental balance and rational energy that are necessary for the future of the Ile-de-France metropolis.
The user at the centre of the public service is your raison d’être, how does the SIAAP 2030 project respond to this objective?
J.O : Our strategic plan SIAAP 2030 – “Together, we build the future”, has the ambition to give SIAAP the means to be always more efficient, to better fulfil its role of operator, to improve the maintenance of its industrial equipment and to harmonize all of its industrial processes in order to increase efficiency and strengthen the transversality of these missions.
It aims above all to meet the expectations of users in the Ile-de-France region: the quality of public service, the preservation of the living environment, the protection of the environment and the acceleration of the energy transition. By constantly improving the efficiency of our processes, we are able to offer users an ever more efficient and cost-effective service.
B.B : In 2018, for the first time in 14 years, the increase in the sanitation fee voted unanimously by the Board of Directors was thus contained at a 2% increase. This is good news for the user in a context where the weight of the water bill weighs in the household budget and where the treatment costs are increasing to meet the directives in purifying material regarding water and sanitation.
The SIAAP 2030 strategic plan has, for the most part, made it possible to meet this challenge by developing a multi-year prospective tool.
It is the strength of the public service to be able to reconcile an ambitious long-term strategy with concrete and rapid responses to the daily expectations of our 9 million users.
What is your opinion on European issues and those of territorial governance?
B.B : Territories have a major role to play in the fight against climate change. Effective cooperation between the various water and energy stakeholders at a local, national and European level is essential to face the challenge of the water cycle and the energy transition’s integrated management in a constantly changing regulatory environment.
By acting locally with the departments, territories and local authorities in terms of energy innovation, sewage sludge recovery and circular economy, SIAAP intends to concretely reaffirm the essential role of all of the territory’s actors in the fight against global warming. The field of new synergies is before us. Nobody has the answer alone.
On a European level, cities and territories are seen as essential levers for implementing a coherent urban and environmental policy. This is why it is essential for Europe’s regions and major cities to maintain a constant and sustained dialogue, in addition to exchanges at the state level, in order to promote local solutions designed to meet the needs of their inhabitants.
J.O : This is the essence of our strategic partnership with the Berlin-based water treatment company Berliner Wasserbetriebe (BWB), which faces issues similar to ours and with which we will systematize the sharing of knowledge and techniques in the long-run. The process initiated with SIAAP 2030 to initiate the benchmarking of major cities gives substance to the need to strengthen both European and global, technical and effective cooperation in order to address environmental challenges.
Could you give us a few words on SIAAP’s international commitment?
B.B : It is SIAAP’s pride to accompany local authorities around the world, at their request, who need, particularly in countries that are experiencing difficulties, to benefit from our experience and our expertise to build a system of sanitation adapted to the needs of their population. Decentralized cooperation has now become a major element of SIAAP’s international action, which we have the duty, as a major public water service, to continue to develop since 2 billion inhabitants do not yet have access to a sanitation service.
The influence of our international actions is the result of the Board of Directors’ political will. It is a duty and a lever to promote the right to sanitation in the world but also to participate in other challenges; the urbanization of the planet, global warming. Through our actions, we also intend to build a collective approach of national and international institutional actors to more effectively fit into the United Nations’ environmental goals.
J.O : At the institutional level, we have mobilized widely to make SIAAP’s voice heard at major structuring events such as the COP23 in Bonn, the IWA or the 2018 FME which was held around the theme “Sharing Water” and during which SIAAP co-piloted the “Urban” theme.
It was a great chance for SIAAP to have been chosen among a large number of international water and sanitation actors to bring a renewed vision of the city of tomorrow and to share our knowledge, professions, and innovations whilst learning from other partners as well.
Could you talk to us about SEDIF? What are its skills and responsibilities?
Created in 1923, the Syndicat des Eaux d’Île-de-France is the first public water service in France and one of the first in Europe. It produces and distributes drinking water for 150 municipalities in the Paris region, with more than 750,000 m3 per day (i.e. 240 million cubic meters per year). As a result, it provides drinking water to more than 4,7 million Paris region inhabitants. Owner of the factories and all production and distribution structures, SEDIF defines the investment policy, sets the price of water and controls the execution of the service provided by its delegate. The operation of the service is entrusted to Veolia Eau of Ile-de-France (a subsidiary of the Veolia group entirely dedicated to SEDIF) as part of a public service delegation.
You have long been highly invested and committed to sustainable development. Could you also talk to us about your future plans?
Indeed, SEDIF wanted to be exemplary in this area and implemented an ambitious environmental policy in 2001, recognized in February 2002 by the obtaining of the ISO 14001 certification. Offering a carbon-neutral water service, optimizing energy consumption, consuming only renewable energy partly produced on its sites, and contributing to adaptation efforts to climate change are the main axes of the quality, environment and sustainable development policy of SEDIF. SEDIF has been committed to climate change for more than 15 years in a dual mitigation and adaptation approach: mitigation that consists of helping limit climate change, and adaptation aimed at moderating climate change effects on our society. It works in respect of the environment and standards, to provide, in the long term, pure water, without limestone and without chlorine. Concerned about the environment and the protection of the resource, SEDIF was equipped in 2017 with its Climate Water Energy Plan.
17 SEDIF pledges are thus formalized to guarantee a long-term quality of the public drinking water service.
A synergy is in position within the urban services of the Metropolis of Greater Paris. What are the innovations in place and those to come?
Ile-de-France’s urban services, of which SEDIF is a major player, are actively involved in building a sustainable metropolis by putting their innovations and mutual expertise at the service of tomorrow’s challenges. Each of us is on the Greater Paris territory, in charge of essential and complementary missions: public water service, public waste treatment, transport, electricity, gas… We act together on a daily basis at the service of the inhabitants of the Paris region in the general interest and territorial equality of the Metropolis of tomorrow. SEDIF is keen to maintain a dynamic partnership which is already broken down by transversal work on projects of general interest concerning, in particular, the control of energy, the improvement of air quality, the promotion of the circular economy, the smart city, the role of major metropolitan facilities, urban logistics and adaptation to climate change. Supported and encouraged in their role, despite the difficulties introduced by the law itself to develop their missions by law, on the New Territorial Organization of the Republic (NTORe) as by that relating to the energy transition for green growth adopted in 2015. These large unions, serving nearly 10 million people in Paris, have more than ever an important role to play to unite, design and implement effective synergies between their activities on the scale of the territories of Greater Paris and serving their environmental and energy balance.
“The citizen at the centre of the public service”. How does the SEDIF project 2020-2030 give a stance to the citizen?
The public service mission exercised by SEDIF does not stop at the tap of consumers, it is more than that! In responding to a vital need for water in our cities, SEDIF’s mission is also to know how to listen in order to transmit useful information on the price and quality of water and services, to raise awareness about the preservation of the resource, to recover the amount of the water bill and to help users with payment difficulties. With its civic responsibilities, SEDIF has long been committed to the youngest users. Young citizens, being active and efficient assets, are thus regularly sensitized to environmental issues. Scheduled for primary classes, SEDIF implements information and awareness actions on water particularly with teachers and students in grades 2, 4 and 5 using numerous tools: educational kits, films, the www.kezakeau.fr platform, mini conferences… Our proximity to young people and their leaders is vital, it allows us to awaken consciences, to participate directly in the education of the adult citizens of tomorrow and to prepare the consumers of tomorrow with responsible behaviour to adopt terms of water saving and a respect for this resource. By 2020, SEDIF intends to maintain its regular communications operations with young people, such as recently in the course of the Sustainable Development Week and its outreach activities.
In a Parisian environment currently under an administrative recomposition that is still unstable, the SEDIF appears as an element of stability like all major unions structuring the Paris region. This is why SEDIF, with its peaceful and shared governance, aims to strengthen the partnership between the major authorities organizing water in the inner suburbs. The aim is to bring together initiatives and demonstrate the capacity of local elected representatives to work together to the necessary construction of a Grand Paris of water that is democratic and respectful of the principle of subsidiarity. My re-election last February testifies that my desire for dialogue and rally, out of political divisions, and my commitment to a public drinking water service ever more effective, safer, more consolidated and more respectful of the environment, for a controlled price, has overtaken political considerations. A single objective animates me; to organize the convergences of common initiatives in order to demonstrate the capacity of the local elected officials to work together for the necessary construction of a Grand Paris of water. The goal is to share best practices and inspire new breakthroughs for everyone in a very flexible operating environment.
Could you give us a few words about your international commitments and projects?
Since 1986, SEDIF has implemented a recognized international solidarity action program, Solidarité Eau (Solidarity Water), to create access to drinking water in developing countries. For SEDIF elected officials, it is a moral imperative to contribute to the access of drinking water in the world. First contributor in France, except for the State, for the financing of its international solidarity actions via associations of French law in particular, the external action of SEDIF concerns 4.7 million people to date in 21 countries of Asia and Africa, i.e. a greater number of inhabitants served drinking water than in the territory of SEDIF. SEDIF has also developed an approach of openness and collaboration with major world agglomerations, which led to the creation of the Club of major water services of the World. These water services are now faced with challenges and problems whose technical responses are developed by operators which could be taken up by others or inspire new solutions.
In 2017, SEDIF increased its investment to 2.4 million euros (vs. 2.1 million in 2014) and spread across 13 countries in Asia and Africa. In more than 30 years, SEDIF’s financial support will have multiplied by 6 from 1 franc cent taken per cubic meter of water sold at the beginning of its action to 1 euro cent in 2017.
The Société du Grand Paris is the public company responsible for building the Grand Paris Express, the city’s new metro. It is an unparalleled project in Europe that involves the construction of 200 kilometres of metro, the doubling of the existing network. This new metro has resulted in the creation of four new ring-road lines around Paris and the extension of line 14, north to Saint-Denis Pleyel and south to Orly airport. 68 new stations will be spread over the territory and come to structure it around new urban centres that will accommodate housing, businesses, services and shops.
The Société du Grand Paris is responsible for carrying out this gigantic project to completion in accordance with a schedule readjusted by the government last February. The first lines will be put into service in 2024 and the last in 2030. The challenge is massive since we must achieve in fifteen years the equivalent of what has been achieved in a century. This shows you the extent of the project.
First, I want to acknowledge the hard work done by my predecessors and the company’s teams. They successfully conducted the dialogue with the territories and put the project on track. The elected officials are still mobilized and the government, through the voice of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, confirmed the completion of the project in its entirety. All signals are green.
The project is now entering the construction phase. On line 15 South, between Pont-de-Sèvres and Noisy-Champs, the sites are visible everywhere and are already very impressive. A tunnel boring machine is already digging between the Champigny and Villiers-sur-Marne operations centre. Another will start digging in August from Noisy-le-Grand to the Bry-Villiers-Champigny station. In total, there are ten tunnel boring machines that will take action on this 33-kilometer line by 2020. On line 14 South, from Olympiades to Orly airport, the civil engineering contracts are assigned and constructions are starting. On line 16, the preparatory work to divert the concession networks is largely completed and the civil works are starting between Saint-Denis Pleyel and Blanc-Mesnil. Part of this line, between Saint-Denis Pleyel and Aulnay, will be ready in 2024 to serve the Olympic venues.
My roadmap is very clear: I am the warrantor of the full and complete realization of the Grand Paris Express, within the deadlines, with respect to the cost projection set by the State and in transparency with regard to the territories, residents and future users. Risk management will be my guideline for mastering schedules and costs. We will make every effort to identify them, anticipate them and be able to make quick decisions when they are needed.
The Grand Paris Express is the new metro that will structure the metropolitan practice of spaciousness by the inhabitants of the Ile-de-France territories. It is an economic, social, urban and environmental project. The challenge is therefore to build a denser, more intense city and limit urban sprawl so that the city is greener and more respectful of the environment.
On the environmental front, the Grand Paris Express will help diminish the use of the car. A simple example: today, 80% of trips to and from Orly and Roissy airports are made by car. Tomorrow, with the Grand Paris Express, the two airports will be connected to the entire metropolis thanks to the new lines. Thus, a researcher arriving in Orly will only take 18 minutes to get to the laboratories of the Saclay plateau instead of 1:03 hours today.
The Grand Paris Express has a major vocation: to improve the lives of millions of residents from the Greater Paris Region. The new metro network will support the city’s future development, including transportation and housing. That’s why the inhabitants of Greater Paris support our project with strength and enthusiasm. They are always more numerous to participate in the visits and appointments we organize.
The Grand Paris Express is also, in the short term, the project of good news for employment and for the order books of companies. From the construction phase, the benefits are felt seeing that 5,000 people are already working on it. It is a dynamic project that gives impetus to all stakeholders, including businesses. 1,000 companies, including 612 in Paris, are working on the new metro. 316 million euros are already committed to SMEs. The project is an opportunity for unemployed people, since the Société du Grand Paris guarantees that 5% of the hours worked on the sites are reserved for insertion.
In the longer term, the socio-economic benefits for Greater Paris and France will be unprecedented. The initial operation of the Grand Paris Express will generate a GDP increase of around 100 billion euros; or 4 billion euros per year for about 25 years. In concrete terms, this means more wealth for the capital region but also for the country as a whole since Ile-de-France produces 30% of the national GDP but consumes only 22%. In terms of employment, the network will have created at least 115,000 jobs by 2030 in addition to the 685,000 that will be created by the projected growth of the region.
Investors have already understood the opportunities generated by this new network and new projects are emerging everywhere. Contributing to the construction of housing is the other priority of Société du Grand Paris which initiates real estate programs over its stations. Nine projects related to the stations are already attributed to Créteil l’Échat, Issy RER, Bagneux M4, La Courneuve “Six Routes”, Bry – Villiers – Champigny, Kremlin – Bicêtre Hospital, Les Ardoines, Le Vert de Maisons and Châtillon – Montrouge. 24 other projects are under study, spread over the entire network. Beyond these projects, the Grand Paris Express will participate in the construction dynamic initiated by the implementation of stations and promote the transformation of neighbourhoods.
The Grand Paris Express is the project of a generation. This new metro will allow new mobility, considerable time savings and the birth of new neighbourhoods that will come to give consistency to Greater Paris. This project is the confirmation of the French ambition to keep Paris at the level of major world cities. With this metro, we are building an ecological and inclusive city that gives everyone a chance.
Monitoring of air pollution, groundwater management, exploitation of geothermal energy, development of public transport … the territorial services of the Canton of Geneva are collaborating more and more closely with their French counterparts to ensure the sustainable development of a cross-border metropolis of nearly one million inhabitants.
What is the scope of the regulatory and legislative powers of a Swiss canton?
Swiss federalism is based on three levels: the Confederation, the cantons and the communes. The Confederation is a regulatory authority. It has few executive tasks, mainly the army and customs, and sets the norms, rules, and guidelines of general law. The cantons are responsible for applying them. However, they have a certain margin of manoeuvre in this area.
They can write their own laws on points where the confederation has not legislated; they can also go further than it does in the areas where it’s legislated. Geneva, for example, enforces much more ambitious energy or air pollution laws than the Confederal Framework requires. In Geneva, the canton is the only competent authority on environmental, energy and spatial planning issues.
What are the objectives of the canton in terms of energy?
We have set a 40% reduction on all of our greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. By 2050, the goal is to achieve what is known as the “2000-Watt Society”. This concept corresponds to that of factor 4 in France, a division by four of energy consumption, reducing demand and covering the rest by renewable energies.
Since January 1st of this year, the canton is now supplied with 100% renewable electricity. Our dams cover 20 to 30% of our needs. The rest comes from the Valais or German hydropower plants and the 800 photovoltaic plants present on our territory. The goal, ultimately, is to obtain 100% Swiss electricity and 100% renewable. To achieve this, the State aims to have by 2020 photovoltaic self-production representing 10% of the total consumption of its housing stock, against 3.9% currently.
What about heat?
Any new construction or renovation of the roof requires the installation of solar thermal panels in sufficient number to ensure the supply of hot water. The state also has two flagship programmes to meet the 2000-watt target. The first is called GeniLac: for ten years, the water of Lake Geneva has been used to refresh the buildings of international organizations and businesses in the Nations District (Geneva Lake Nations). In winter, they heat them with heat pumps. The system saves 80% of electricity.
Inspired by this success, the GeniLac project aims to extend the system to the entire downtown area and the airport area, a territory ten times larger. Work has progressed well. The first connections are planned for 2017. The second is christened GEothermie2020: a current program of 90 million euros over 5 or 6 years will allow to finalise prospecting and exploration studies. This is to fully map the subsoil of the canton to be able to deploy any type of geothermal. Ultimately, two-thirds of households’ heat needs could be covered by this renewable resource.
What is the place of territorial public services on the Canton?
Cantonal public services are important and often old. Public Transport Geneva (GPT) has existed for 150 years. The network stretches over 400 km and carries 540,000 passengers a day, by bus, trolleybus and trams. One of its particularities – almost unique in Switzerland – is to cover the entire canton, from urban areas to the most remote areas of the centre.
Since 1995, Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) have been home to eight hospitals, two clinics and forty outpatient centres, which employ nearly 10,000 people. The first university hospital in the country, it assures all roles in public health: proximity, first resort, emergencies and outpatient. It is 55% financed by the canton, through taxes, and 45% by insurance.
The international airport is also an autonomous public institution under cantonal law. It has a separate board of directors, a separate accounting system, but it belongs entirely to the state, which retains ownership of all real estate, appoints the directors and approves accounts and budgets. And half of the annual profits fall into the coffers of the Canton.
Finally, Geneva Industrial Services (GIS) is a public company whose capital is divided between the Canton of Geneva (55%), the city of Geneva (30%) and the Geneva municipalities (15%). SIG employs 1,682 people with more than a hundred different jobs. She works in a wide variety of fields. It builds and operates dams on the canton’s soil, produces electricity, and supplies the territory with electricity, drinking water and gas. It treats wastewater, incinerates waste, landfills slag and makes composting-methanisation of organic waste. For example, cross-border river contracts have made it possible to in place of ecological corridors.
Where is the Greater Geneva?
Greater Geneva is a territory of 2,000 km2 straddling the Swiss cantons of Geneva and Vaud and the French departments of Ain and Haute-Savoie. It covers the entire Canton of Geneva, the District of Nyon and ARC Syndicat Mixte (French part of Greater Geneva), a metropolis of 212 municipalities totalling nearly one million inhabitants. Located in an attractive environment, Greater Geneva is experiencing significant population growth and a booming economy, all assets that must be mastered together to ensure balanced development. This is why Greater Geneva is managed by representatives of the two countries in a legal structure of the type Local grouping of cross-border cooperation (GLCT). The stakes are high: housing, employment, transport, environment, energy, planning …
How do you work with French public services regarding energy or the environment?
There is a habit, robust, cross-border collaboration in many areas: police, health, training, regional planning …
As far as the environment is concerned, the Geneva water table has been managed jointly by the canton of Geneva and the communities of the Annemasse conurbation and the French Genevois for nearly 40 years. Cross-border river contracts have been in place for more than 15 years, and – more recently – Franco-Swiss contracts for biological corridors.
There is also G2AME (Grand Genève Air Model Emissions), a common tool for assessing air quality. This work brings together French regional experts and those of the Canton of Geneva and the Canton of Vaud for a harmonised analysis of polluting emissions in order to be able to better control it, and ultimately protect the population’s health. G2AME is able to deduce the air quality in 2020 or 2030 according to the development scenarios of the agglomeration.
We are building the same space for energy dialogue (through the cross-border energy community of which I am co-chair) and in the field of transport. For example, we are developing a 320 km long RER line, the Léman Express, comprising more than 45 stations, with an extension to Annemasse and beyond. We are also planning the creation of a cross-border bus network with a high level of service, and maintain regular contacts with our French partners for the development of charging stations for electric vehicles.
A fundamental priority for us will be to exploit the full potential of the EU’s Common Energy Policy. Only energy security can make our economy globally competitive and avoid economic decline.
Energy efficiency as a priority, but set realistic savings targets
Every European citizen must be able to produce his own energy, consume it and share it
The sectors we regulate have a fundamental impact on the economy, and on citizens. Security is critical, and we need to make ourselves better understood and confident that everyone is informed before problems arise.
CEER, as the voice of Europe’s energy regulators, has long had a reputation for being visionary and working to ensure that energy consumers benefit from market liberalisation. Since becoming leader of European energy regulators last November, I have sought to reinvigorate CEER with a renewed emphasis on fostering energy markets in Europe and empowering consumers in a changing energy system.
Accordingly, one of the first tasks that my colleagues and I have set ourselves is to develop a new strategy to guide CEER’s policy objectives and work programme in the coming years, helping to shape the sector in a way that is beneficial for all consumers. We recently marked the first key milestone in this process by publishing, for public consultation, CEER’s proposed 3D policy strategy from 2019 to 2021, focused on Digitalisation, Decarbonisation and Dynamic Regulation. This is with a view to providing for adaptive regulation that enables innovation and least-cost decarbonisation, in a manner that protects and empowers consumers.
This CEER strategy and associated 2019 work programme is out to public consultation until 10 August. We’d very much welcome your views on our strategy proposals before we finalise them later this year. This will help ensure a CEER strategy that is relevant to the challenges and opportunities ahead, which I intend to face head-on together with our regulators and Secretariat. I look forward to your input!
Can you introduce us to FEDARENE, its missions and competences? (in 3 words)
Since its establishment in 1990, FEDARENE has been acting as a liaison between local and regional authorities and the European Institutions. Our ambition is to make the voice of regions and energy agencies heard at the European level and to inform our constituency about relevant European initiatives and policies. Today, we are a network of more than 70 organisations from 20 European countries. We are also a very dynamic federation: we work together and exchange on a regular basis, notably through events, networking activities and EU projects. All of this is coordinated by the Brussels office.
FEDARENE’s action is not limited to its members. We also seek to involve other stakeholders of the energy sector, whether this is public authorities, non-governmental organisations, financial institutions… Finally, FEDARENE is also one of the founding partners of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and a member of the consortium running the initiative, together with Energy Cities, Climate Alliance, CEMR, EUROCITIES and ICLEI Europe. The Covenant bring together over 7,700 signatory local authorities and is now the world’s largest movement for local climate and energy actions. We are very proud to be part of such a crucial initiative.
So you represent the regional energy agencies, can you tell us about the ManagEnergy initiative, and how does it support energy efficiency especially over the period 2017-2020?
ManagEnergy is the European Commission initiative for supporting local and regional energy agencies in Europe. It was first launched in 2002 but the new work programme for the 2017-2020 period somewhat took a different spin, as it focuses on helping regional and local energy agencies to become leaders in the energy transition and increasing sustainable energy investments in regions and cities. It made sense for FEDARENE to be involved in this initiative since our network includes many energy agencies. The consortium is also composed of some of the most experienced EU energy agencies, which happen to be FEDARENE members as well. This illustrates what I was saying before: we are able to keep a very dynamic network because we are constantly involved in common projects and initiatives.
In practice, ManagEnergy aims to raise the skills of local and regional energy agencies in project financing and project development and to inform them about energy efficiency policies. There are four main types of activities foreseen: Master Classes, which are three-days training sessions led by experts; Expert Missions, where the experts go to selected energy agencies to provide tailor-made support; Networking Events (whose name is self-explanatory); and ManagEnergy Talks, given by well-known experts of the sustainable energy field to inspire others to lead the energy transition. Actually the first ManagEnergy Talk took place on Wednesday night (6 June 2018) during the EU Sustainable Energy Week, and welcomed Rob Hopkins as keynote speaker.
By supporting energy agencies and encouraging them to develop new projects, ManagEnergy also supports energy efficiency. Indeed, to make the energy transition happen, more energy efficiency and renewable energy investments are needed. It is no coincidence that the programme targets local and regional energy agencies to increase investments. These agencies occupy a unique position in their regions and cities because they act as project developers, aggregators, and facilitators for public authorities. This enables them to boost sustainable energy investments and to shape the future European energy landscape.
What are your reactions to the Renewable Energy Directive and the post-2020 multiannual financial framework?
I appreciate very much this question as it joins 2 crucially interlinked issues currently being under discussion between the EU Institutions: EU’s budget and EU’s ambition in terms of moving away from non-renewable energy sources.
In June 2017, the members of FEDARENE issued the Berlin Declaration in which they commit to use their resources to “share knowledge and experience and join forces for the sake of a peaceful, united and sustainable Europe which sets an example with regard to energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as environmental and climate protection”. What does it mean. More simply put, it means regions, cities and their energy agencies from across Europe are eager to continue making the energy transition something that makes sense for all the members of our society: citizens, their political representatives at all governance levels, NGOs, SMEs, industries…
In the heat of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) proposals and the trilogues on the RES Directive, Member States must accept that the energy transition is not just another expenditure, it’s not an adjustment variable for the budget of the European Union. On the contrary, it is an essential part of the solution that maximises the impact of our budgets and creates additional revenues. Regions and Cities are seeing and sharing the positive impact of investing in renewables and energy efficiency in their territories, and they count on the catalysing effects of the EU budget to achieve their long-term Climate and Energy targets and contribute to Europe’s international commitments. To this end we need ambitious and binding renewable energy targets, a strong cohesion policy that can be easily accessed by local and regional authorities and robust and complementary financial programmes that enable innovation and the replication of successful initiatives.
Remunicipalising energy is the path chosen by local elected representatives and groups of European citizens who are keen to combine their democratic, social and environmental aspirations. The reconquest of another “common good”, water, is sometimes used as an example to get into the field of energy.
Where is Europe after the Paris agreements?
Unfortunately, we know it on a global scale we are on a trajectory that is well below the objectives we have set ourselves in the context of the Paris and commitments that we collectively took.
That is why Europe has an absolutely special and essential responsibility, it must be as ambitious as possible. This is what we have done in setting ourselves ambitious targets, particularly in the area of renewable energies, but if we want to achieve these objectives it is essential that we take our responsibilities by giving us the means to achieve this.
As far as renewable energies are concerned, we believe that we need to put in place key stages between today and 2030, in order to measure our progress at each stage, and not wake up on the eve of 2030 and report to ourselves that we are far from our objectives. Regarding the objectives to achieve in terms of CO2 reduction, France will be uncompromising concerning coal-fired power plants and capacity mechanisms, we do not want the European taxpayer to indirectly finance CO2-emitting plants.
France has a strong ambition in coherence with the national objectives that it sets itself, especially on the climate plan as you could see it last year during the summer “One Planet”.
The president of the republic has again reminded, more than ever there is an urgency to act and especially to give ourselves the means of our ambitions!
Is France ready to put an end to the regulation of electricity prices in order to favour the emergence of a single European market?
We do not think that regulated tariffs should be ended, it is essential to protect all consumers, especially small European consumers, and that is for this France is in favour of maintaining the regulated tariffs.
I remind you that this does not prevent the emergence of market prices. This is not contradictory.
I will fight to keep at least budget allocations. If we can increase them, so much the better, and I will do everything for!
The collective work carried out by CRE goes beyond the framework of the “traditional” operators of the sector and integrates new actors, who are neither suppliers nor producers, nor network managers. It is the actors of innovation that fully support the energy transition of our country.
• GHG emissions report:
• Development of renewable energies (solar energy, wind, biomass):
• Transport sector (biofuel, electric vehicle):
• Energy efficiency – industry:
• Energy efficiency – transportation, residential, tertiary:
• Environment-circular economy, water & sanitation, treatment & recovery
• The European Network of Observatories for Energy Vigilance
• The countries or regions concerned
• Use of data and analysis
• Trajectory for meeting European climate commitments
“Public power: research and innovation, more competitiveness and efficiency. Private sector: innovative companies for international development. Europe must lead the race of clean energy in the World.”
We must now look outward to ensure that Europe becomes more competitive on the world stage in order to create the prosperity that businesses and citizens aspire to.
The business world obviously plays a central role. All industrial and entrepreneurial actors are mobilized, whether they are energy producers or energy-consuming companies, or even those developing new technologies or services for example to reduce energy consumption. In general, companies are increasingly aware of their own responsibilities to produce and consume energy more efficiently, especially to address the global challenge of climate change. And even though the current challenges Europe is facing are numerous, the issue of the energy and climate transition comes up very regularly in my meetings with business leaders from all over Europe.
It is indeed a delicate equation which is the subject of many discussions at a European level and it is not easy to solve. While an ambitious European energy and climate policy is needed, it also creates significant costs and constraints, especially for businesses. If third-country companies such as the United States, China or Russia are not subject to the same standards, this weakens the competitiveness of European companies engaged in an increasingly competitive global market. This can be seen, for example, in the price of electricity, which increased on average by 18% in the European Union between 2008 and 2015. It is now higher than in the United States, Russia and South Korea. This situation impacts the competitiveness of energy-consuming European companies. Solving the equation is not easy, but solutions do exist. For example, there is a need for more coherence in certain European policies to avoid the additional costs associated with “legislative millefeuilles”. We must also convince third countries to align their climate ambitions with those of Europe because the answer must be global. Finally, we need an ambitious “ultra” policy on research and innovation. With a global low-carbon technology market expected to reach between 1,000 and 2,000 billion euros by 2030, innovative European companies are in pole position.
First of all, the Paris agreement is a worthy agreement. BusinessEurope, which has been following the international climate negotiations for many years, has strongly mobilized upstream to express the support of the European industry for an ambitious agreement. And we welcomed the agreement as of December 12, 2015. Unfortunately, there has been mixed progress on its implementation. First of all, there is the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris agreement. It is a decision that we deeply regret because the agreement of 2015 finally made it possible to define a framework so that all the countries could move in the same direction. The withdrawal of the United States obviously raises the question of our collective ability to reach the target of 1.5-2° C. It is nevertheless essential that all (other) countries remain mobilized. The other worrying point revolves around the difficulties in reaching agreement on the rulebook. This document should define common playing rules between all signatory countries to implement the agreement. The negotiations have been going on for about two years now and we can see that there are still points of tension, for example, on transparency rules for CO2 emissions and how they should be accounted for. These common playing rules are important for creating trust between countries, but also for companies because several provisions concern them directly such as the establishment of a carbon market. It is essential that the negotiations come to a conclusion at the COP24 in Poland by the end of the year at the latest.
“Will mature technologies in 2030 or 2050 achieve our energy transition and climate goals?”
“Energy efficiency is one of the key dimensions of the EU energy strategy?”
Interview of Assumpta Farran, degree in Physics & director of the Catalan Energy Institute “Generalitat de Catalunya”.
The energy model, now over a hundred years old, is undergoing a transformation similar to the one we saw in the telecommunications sector just 15 years ago.
In the decarbonisation commitments acquired in Paris in December 2015, over 190 world leaders committed to the fight against climate change and, in particular, not to increase the temperature by more than 1.5ºC by the end of the century. In the political world there is no doubt that the energy model is the centre of the problem.
In November 2016, the European Commission presented the winter package, which comprises over 3,000 pages on the energy-climate strategy for 2030. This strategy contains directives, rules and regulations which, for the first time, are approached comprehensively and that will mark the “Clean energy for all Europeans” energy policy for the next decade.
One year later, in November 2017, the Commission presented the Clean Mobility Package policy package, which recognizes transport as a key element in energy transition, as it undeniably accounts for around 40% of final energy consumption.
In December 2017, the reports of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency reveal the “disruptive” fall in the prices of photovoltaic solar energy. In less than 5 years, its cost has fallen by 80% and implementation cost have done so in geometric progression.
Noteworthy elements include the nuclear power-plant closure programme in Germany by 2022, and in Belgium, California by 2025, and their replacement by renewable energies.
I think the Commission itself has marked the way for us. In the first place, achieve energy efficiency, then lead growth of renewable energies and give fair treatment to consumers.
Energy efficiency and renewable energies in themselves are not innovative; in fact, the objectives set by the Commission and the Council –27% in the 2030 horizon– are less ambitious than those approved in 2008 in which binding renewables objectives were set at 20% , with a starting point of 6%, by 2020.
But what undoubtedly represents a differential change with respect to the 2020 objectives is the acknowledgement of the need to give fair treatment to citizens.
The energy agencies must identify and lead the actions so that the citizen is placed at the centre of the energy model and we must be fully committed to this, since the energy transition to a cleaner, equitable, distributed and democratic model will depend on it.
Energy is a basic consumer commodity. Its reliability, security and economic competitiveness will depend on the growth of our society being environmentally and socially sustainable. The current energy market, whether fuel or electricity, is characterised by little competitiveness among suppliers and almost inflexible demand. The liberalisation of the energy sector, which has not caused a real increase in competitiveness or affected the extreme external dependence on fossil fuels and uranium, has led to consumers’ increasing vulnerability and energy poverty is a reality that we must face urgently.
Therefore, administrations must guarantee the fundamental right for citizens to access energy. However, being realistic, with an external energy dependence of over 82%, as is the case in Catalonia, with prices decisions set by the priorities of the OPEC countries and other producing countries which, for the most part, are far from democratic, that guarantee is far from being a reality.
Therefore, the main tool to guarantee the right to access energy comes from unambiguously promoting domestic renewable energies and from stopping the more or less blatant subsidising of fossil fuels. The lower taxation on automotive diesel, even though it is the most polluting fuel, or capacity payments to coal and natural gas must have an expiration date set as soon as possible.
It is the biggest challenge, but also the most rewarding if we can take it forward. We are talking about pushing a social transition to make energy-democratisation a reality. That is perhaps difficult to understand. For the last 100 years our energy model has required high investments to maintain energy resources located thousands of kilometres away, and keep up high costs of processing plants, whether refineries or gas, coal or uranium thermal power stations. This energy model has put the system in the hands of oligopolies, since few companies can afford such large investments.
The renewable energies learning curve, especially, wind and solar photovoltaic energy, is giving results. Photovoltaic technology has reduced its costs by 80% in the last 5 years and, in countries where there are no absurd barriers to self-consumption, you can even buy solar panels in shopping centres. In other words, the technology to manufacture electricity, which is so expensive that it requires large companies, can be done at home at DIY prices. But that’s not all, the electrical storage systems needed to get the most out of domestic solar installations, are also falling in price. Well, that’s what the energy transition is all about. To introduce competition in the market through many small businesses that contribute to generation or non-consumption by citizens at certain hours and help generate real competition in the system.
Of course: solar photovoltaic energy associated with battery storage alone will not achieve the change in the energy model. The increase in the market share of electric vehicles will be linked to an improved battery capacity and a reduction in their price. These are the same batteries that we will use for self-consumption, to add the energy generated by many citizens and market it, increasing their competition and lowering the costs of the electricity system.
Nor can we forget the flexibility that electric mobility will introduce into the electrical system. This flexibility will be very necessary as the weight of renewable energies increases, guaranteeing the necessary stability of the system when there is no sun or wind.
The electric vehicle will trigger flexible demand management and make it assume a role that we have not yet been able to develop, helping to flatten the electricity demand curve and add capacity to the system when necessary.
In fact, both solar-powered self-consumption and the electric vehicle make a perfect energy efficiency and renewable energy hybrid.
ICAEN is leading the foundations of the National Pact for the Energy Transition in Catalonia, a social agreement process in which the essential axes for the energy transition design have been defined up to 2050 and which has set the goal of making 50% of the electricity consumed renewable by 2030. To this end, the energy-efficiency, renewable energy, research, innovation, taxation and financing commitments have been defined, as have the attentive approach to new business models linked to the aggregation of distributed technologies owned by citizens.
We are aware that the current regulations, taxation, financing and even social culture in force are designed for the centralised, fossil-fueled, polluting model of the 20th century, so we are going to encounter much resistance when we try to modify them. Even so, technology at competitive prices is already a reality and, with the joint work of local and regional administrations and with convinced citizens committed to changing the energy model, we will make it happen.
For this reason, we will prioritize awareness-raising actions to disseminate the benefits of electric mobility, self-consumption, battery storage and the exponential synergy of the three technologies, as well as the need to find mechanisms to finance the energy renovation of the currently constructed buildings.
To advance in electric mobility, we have created the Strategic Table for developing the recharging infrastructure, endowed with € 5.6M for 2017-2019. Guaranteeing the recharging of vehicles will accelerate citizens’ decision to switch to electric mobility.
Regarding self-consumption, especially solar-powered, since we believe it is the most likely to be successful and because it is within the reach of citizens, we have created the Impulse Board for Photovoltaic Self-consumption. This sector does not need aid; it needs the administrations and the distributors to stop putting up unnecessary, artificial barriers. But the legal, not technological, impossibility of the net balance and sharing of energy between neighbours, hinders its economic viability. That is why ICAEN has launched the incentives programme for batteries associated with residential photovoltaic installations in what we have called the “SolarCat” strategy.
The energy renovation of buildings must also be a clear commitment and the energy-efficiency directives in buildings, which we are far from meeting, must be even more so. New building should be almost zero consumption in 2021. This starts with the class A energy-efficiency certification and the introduction of renewable energies.
The building, photovoltaic self-consumption, storage and electric vehicle haves all have the citizen in common. Hence, the importance of accepting that we are facing the levers for democratising energy.
And we must not forget the electricity distribution network. The energy-climate strategy of the European Union is quite clear on this. The electricity-market common-rules directive assumes that the feasibility of photovoltaic self-consumption and the electric vehicle will require intelligent networks, Smart grids, that do not limit the possibility of citizens to generate, consume, share, store and sell their own energy.
We know that distribution is a natural monopoly, so the regulation must be obeyed. The criteria to return the investment must be based on digitalizing the network and not on vegetative growths of laying more copper or aluminium electrical lines, which does not contribute anything to its users, nor on unclear arguments. The distribution network tolls represent the main regulated electricity system’s cost, so no excuses can be admissible for not advancing with the Smart grid or for failing to offer all the smart-meter data to their users and, of course, for negating transparency by not providing open data on the points of the distribution network and its available evacuation power capacity.
The Spanish media, except for the specialized digital press, are light years away from everything that is about to occur. I suppose it is more interesting to talk about the “subsidies” for renewable energies, the debate “in favour” of nuclear energy, the dividends and purchases of large companies …. But, regarding the transformation of the energy model, to tell you the truth, I cannot see the press talking about the large volume of intermittent energy that is going to be put into the system. But that is not the case everywhere. In the USA and Germany, solar installations and batteries are common; in Norway and the Netherlands, the market share of electric vehicles exceeds 10% and the new P2P energy exchange models with blockchain technology are already a reality in New York and Australia.
The challenges that lie ahead are not simple, and the resistance to change will be present and will be unavoidable. Regulation and taxation in Spain are in favour of a model that is becoming increasingly obsolete and enervated day by day. The lack of competitiveness, the high external dependence and the high environmental, social and health externalities must give way, through a just transition, to a new, more renewable, clean, efficient, healthy and democratic model.
What is your position about energy transition & and how your actions could accelerate the ambition in renewable energy ?
CEER actively supports the transition to a decarbonised energy sector. We see renewable electricity generation as playing a key role in this energy transition, as part of our general objective of decarbonisation at least cost to energy consumers.
Renewable generation, including wind and solar, has grown very significantly in Europe over the last 15 years, roughly doubling such that it is now 30% of Europe’s electricity production. It has therefore become a central part of Europe’s power sector, and it is expected to grow further to about half or more of its generation mix by 2030.
In this context, European energy regulators are working to facilitate a further increase in the level of renewable generation in the years ahead. We welcome and plan to implement the Clean Energy legislative proposals to retrofit the wholesale electricity markets and facilitate more renewables. We consider it important that renewables have the same rights, but also responsibilities, as other participants with respect to wholesale electricity markets. This includes the running of generating units on an economic basis and balancing responsibility. Such developments will help fully integrate renewables into the market, thereby minimising costs and protecting consumers – as is energy regulators’ mandate.
In relation to renewable support schemes, CEER regularly publishes data on their cost and type, and points out that, where supports are needed, they should be designed efficiently given their impact on energy bills and European cost competitiveness. CEER has therefore called for market-based systems to manage support scheme costs and, in a recent report, welcomes a trend in Europe towards competitive tendering procedures.
More broadly, while renewables are very important, we see them in the bigger picture of decarbonisation at least cost. Gas, including green gas, also has a significant role to play in the energy transition in the coming decades, as highlighted in our recent Future Role of Gas (FROG) report (see below). In addition, other means such as energy efficiency, flexibility, smart technology and empowered consumers can assist both increased renewable generation and the general decarbonisation agenda.
Could you present the PEER, and detail its recent activities
In the context of technological developments that are disrupting the traditional sectoral approach on which regulatory supervision is based, CEER has shown leadership in launching the PEER (Partnership for the Enforcement of European Rights) initiative. PEER aims to provide consistent consumer rights solutions in inter-related markets through enhanced cross-sectoral regulatory cooperation, at European level, across different public authorities responsible for enforcing consumer rights such as consumer and data protection authorities and various sectoral regulators.
Recent PEER activity
What is your vision on the future role of gas ?
CEER published the Future Role of Gas (FROG) report in March 2018. The objectives of this report were to identify key issues deriving from the future development of the natural gas sector in the EU to 2040, both from a commodity and infrastructure perspective, and to develop proposals for potential future regulatory initiatives that may be needed to reflect these developments.
Key FROG Findings
Based on the results of the FROG study, CEER will focus on addressing the challenges in greater detail and developing specific regulatory initiatives. A public consultation is foreseen in Q4 2018, following which CEER plans a paper in 2019 on its vision on the future role of gas from a regulatory perspective. In 2019 CEER will also focus its work on regulating gas sector innovation and on gas infrastructure given the energy transition.
Last regulatory authority decisions/papers
Created in November 2002, the Superior Council of Energy is consulted once or twice a month, and in particular, monitors the progress of renewable energies – such as wind and photovoltaic energy – in France.
Can you remind us what Superior Council of Energy’s mission is?
Consisting of several colleges (members of Parliament, representatives of ministries, local authorities, consumers, companies and staff of the energy sector, environmental protection associations), the Superior Council of Energy is consulted on key issues. texts concerning energy: – all regulatory acts emanating from the Government, involving the electricity or gas sector, with the exception of those falling within the competence of the National Fund for Electrical Industries and Gas; – regulatory decrees and orders relating to energy saving obligations; – the draft decisions of the Energy Regulatory Commission relating to network tariffs and the conditions for access and connection to public networks of new interconnections.
The Superior Council of Energy can also issue opinions, at the request of the Minister of Energy, on electricity, gas and other fossil fuels, renewable energies and energy-saving policies.
What are its current recommendations on the gas and electricity markets?
The Energy Council is very attentive to the implementation of the energy transition, regularly voted by the vast majority of its members.
In this context, the Superior Council of Energy is committed to ensuring that the texts submitted to it allows for a rapid and balanced implementation of this objective in the gas and electricity markets. It shows particular attention to the rise of renewable energies (wind, photovoltaic), the moderation of prices and the control of the energy demand.
In the coming months, which files will be the priority?
The priority will be to complete the examination of the latest enactments of the energy transition. This will be more than 150 implementing texts that will have been examined. At the end of this work, I wish to pay particular tribute, in advance, to the commitment of Minister Ségolène Royal, who will have allowed for this major shift in our energy policy. Since June, the texts on the agenda depend on the priorities of the new Government.
CNR is the Rhone concessionaire from the Swiss border to the Mediterranean. Along the river, we have three solidarity-based missions to produce hydropower, develop the waterway and irrigate the surrounding farmland. A real developer of territories for the implementation of the energy transition, we also produce wind and photovoltaic energy and we are the largest French producer of 100% renewable energy.
The first specificity lies in our balanced public-private shareholding, which requires CNR to find the right balance between economic profitability and general interest. The presence of 183 communities in our shareholding allows us to have a detailed knowledge of the territory, essential for the deployment of our projects.
Since we are exploiting a common good – the Rhone River – we consider that part of the wealth produced must be redistributed to the territories it crosses. The General Interest Missions we have put in place reinforce our actions in favour of the local economy, a sustainable development, soft mobility or biodiversity. The iconic ViaRhona, a cycle route along the Rhone, is a beautiful example co-built with communities.
Finally, before being powered by CNR to produce hydroelectricity, the Rhone’s water droplet made it possible to ensure the passage of fish, irrigate farmland, cool nuclear power plants, or transport a merchant ship or recreational boat. CNR is the warrantor of the reconciliation of all these uses.
I am convinced that, if the European and national political will is essential for the success of the energy transition, the right scale of action for its implementation is that of the territories. CNR puts its know-how at the service of supporting communities for the development of structuring and innovative projects.
Thus, for our wind or photovoltaic projects, we act in connection with communities and their inhabitants, for example by organizing crowdfunding campaigns. This is a way to make the energy transition an economic opportunity for all.
Global, European and national targets for the development of renewable energy are ambitious. But medium and long-term forecasts show a drop in these objectives. A 100% renewable world is possible. It is a long-term goal that we can set and achieve, provided we have real political will behind it.
CNR commits and acts to contribute to the achievement of these short and long term objectives. It is with this in mind that we have set ourselves for 2020 to reach 1000MW installed power in wind and photovoltaic energy that will be added to the 3000 MW that we produce on the Rhone. Of course, we will not stop there and are already planning ambitious goals for post-2020.
The renewable energy sector is constantly evolving. CNR, as a laboratory for the energies of the future, wishes to support innovation. Our commitment to the emergence of the hydrogen sector, storage or smart grids is a good illustration of this strategy. Similarly, the Quai des Energies project, a green multi-energy station with a teaching area, will allow to show and experience renewable energies in the heart of the city of Lyon. Finally, because innovation emerges only within an ecosystem, we have set up an ambitious cooperation with competitiveness clusters and also with the CEA.
CNR is positioned as a partner of the European Union for the achievement of the 2020 global climate goals. Our ambition is to contribute to the strengthening and construction of European industrial sectors of excellence, to intensify the production of renewable energies and to bring out innovation. For this, the EU, both in the development of ambitious policies and in supporting innovative projects, is a fundamental asset.
European funding programs are an opportunity for a company like CNR. They not only make it possible to lift financial barriers to innovation, but they also give our projects a high visibility, facilitating their replication in other territories.
In a context of global warming, the rivers of the world are both the victims – important phenomena of low water and flood – and the carriers of solutions – producers of green energy, transport routes less polluting than roads…
In view of this fact, and understanding that there was no global forum for consultation between major rivers, CNR created the IFGR in 2014. Today an association of general interest, IFGR brings together river managers, institutional representatives and international experts with the aim of formulating concrete proposals for the improvement of river management.
IFGR is a model of consultation and co-construction for the deployment of innovative solutions. It is an interesting example for the governance of the energy transition.
La Poste is the first electric fleet (100% renewable energy) in the world!
results have you achieved? And in which areas?
The results we get are very concrete:
“The world’s No. 1 electric fleet, the world’s number one on the voluntary carbon offset market and 100% of its electricity is of renewable origin”
First of all, in the field of sustainable mobility, we have the world’s first electric fleet. It consists of 38,000 vehicles, which is more than 40% of the world’s total fleet. In 2017, this electric fleet covered more than 240 million kilometres, equalling 25% of the total distances travelled worldwide.
Then, with regard to carbon offsetting, La Poste guarantees 100% of its carbon-neutral deliveries. We are the world’s number one on the voluntary carbon offset market in the Parcel Express Courier sector with more than 1.5 million tons of CO2 offset last year.
Finally, in the context of energy efficiency and renewable energies, 100% of our electricity is of renewable origin, and this strategy of renewable electricity supply is accompanied by a policy of energy sobriety that we use on our entire park.
The expertise generated as part of our internal changes allows us to support companies, administrations, communities and individuals in five major areas. These cover waste management (especially office waste), energy efficiency of buildings, the energy renovation of housing, sustainable mobility and the financing of projects related to the energy transition including renewable energy.
La Poste is at the service of the Energetic Transition for Green Growth law, itself being at the service of the Paris Agreement.
We have many assets within La Poste, first and foremost a human presence on every point of the territory, a strong image of trust and a mastery of the physical flows of letters and parcels achieved by digital skills.
We also have a proactive partnership approach to complement our assets with many major players but also by the acquisition of mid-cap companies and start-ups.
Such as with the partnership with the Suez Group in the creation of a joint subsidiary, RECYGO, which acts in the sustainable recycling of office waste, or with the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) within the framework of the subsidiary SOBRE, in order to offer comprehensive solutions adapted to different building stock in the control and optimization of the energy performance of buildings.
We can also mention the acquisition of PROBA YES, a TWA specializing in artificial intelligence and robotics, which will be a research centre in predictive analysis to meet the demand for customization of new digital services for our customers. Let us also mention the acquisition of KissKissBankBank, a crowdfunding platform.
Finally, I would also like to stress our daily field-based action with the communities with whom we work for the energy transition, like the Action Habitat program in Guéret. Indeed, this program is aimed at individuals in a precarious energy situation and aims to carry out free energy audits that will trigger efficient energy renovation work. La Poste postmen have been meeting the 2,700 households in Grand Guéret during their tour since February and are offering them, after a very quick questionnaire, an appointment with a thermal expert who will carry out the energy audit of their housing. The results of this operation will be presented in September of this year.
The major challenge for La Poste is to contribute to the development of an economy that is more respectful of natural resources and, above all, more inclusive. This is why we wanted to integrate the dimension of local and solidarity employment into our collection activity for the recycling of office waste. Our subsidiary, Nouvelle Attitude, an enterprise that reintegrates workers by economic activity, has already enabled the return to a permanent job of more than 138 people.
The job of a postman evolves, his/her activities are diversified but we want to keep what is at the core of the profession: the proximity and trust that individuals and businesses have for a character in charge of the general interest. In the field of energy transition, our postmen are public ambassadors in order to sensitize citizens and make them aware of the opportunities offered by the evolution of regulations (the possible aid for example) and actions undertaken by local authorities. For example, fighting energy insecurity by educating people to help raise awareness and facilitate the detection of thermal strainers in the territory. This proximity allows us to affirm that the postman job is a profession of the future. We have recruited 4700 postmen last year and we have already planned to recruit 3000 this year.
Our action strategies will focus in a very concrete way on protecting the vitality of our city centres, on the energy transition and especially on the response to the growing needs for home-based services often linked to the digital activity. The growing number of seniors in our society is creating new demands for human proximity.
Postwomen and postmen are at the heart of this service strategy that we convey with the French, always with mail distribution and parcel delivery.
The message I would like to convey is: La Poste stands next to communities and businesses in order to develop the best service and the most human relationship towards citizens.
Groupe La Poste
BRANCHE SERVICES – COURRIER – COLIS
9 Rue du Colonel Pierre Avia
75757 PARIS CEDEX 15
The FNCCR brings together communities that delegate public network services to businesses and others that manage these public services themselves. The association accompanies its members concerning technical, administrative and financial issues.
Can you present the national federation of concessioning and governed communities of which you are president since 2008?
Founded in 1934, the FNCCR is an association of public authorities in charge of public services in networks: water and sanitation, energy, electronic communications and waste. It brings together some 800 members, of all sizes, from the largest cities to the small towns, through the regions and departments, not to mention the inter-municipalities that are the core of our members because the logic of networks extends beyond administrative boundaries. Living exclusively on membership fees, the FNCCR is independent of the large companies to which these public services are often delegated: EDF, Engie, Veolia, Saur, Lyonnaise des Eaux, Orange, Numericable … This guarantees the neutrality of our analyses and proposals that are intimately linked to our desire to improve daily the service rendered to users.
For this purpose, we help our members in the management of their activities, through the animation of thematic working groups, the answering of legal or economic questions, the analysis of legislative texts, the piloting of specific studies, the organisation of symposia and, every three years, a national congress. Finally, we regularly submit proposals to the National Assembly and the Senate with the members of the FNCCR. We also wish to broaden our circle of elected representatives by proposing to MPs and Senators to join the FNCCFR directly, without necessarily being designated by a local community; that way our association is perfectly representative of the diversity of the national representation.
The FNCCR represents very diverse sectors. What is the role of communities in energy?
This is our primary skill. The FNCCR was created at the initiative of local authorities in charge of organising the public electricity service. Public service that has gradually expanded to other sources of energy: natural gas, heat and cold. The fruits of the history of the territories, these communities are diverse in size and organisation. They are often overlooked, and the role of these communities is nevertheless structuring and primordial.
Structuring role because they own the distribution networks, that is to say, those that are closest to the needs of citizen-consumers, which guarantees the sustainability of the model of territorial solidarity, beyond the economic and legal upheavals sector. Indeed, this model has proved its robustness in all circumstances: private local companies until 1946, national monopoly since with national groups (EDF and Gaz de France) alongside local public companies (ELD), gradual opening to the competition under European impulse since the 2000s. Not to mention the changes of the large concessionaires that are EDF and Engie, formerly integrated companies, which have now divided distribution activities. The world of energy is a changing world. In France, the local public service is what fundamentally structures it and accompanies these changes by ensuring the stability of the system: some energy unions, like the SIGEIF born in 1904, are more than a century old!
This is a vital role because the communities have public services that can be described as essential: water, energy, electronic communications, waste, etc. These network activities are present in every household and occupy a central and vital place. Every Frenchman who turns on the light or drinks a glass of water resorts to a public service practically invisible by virtue of being effective. That an incident occurs and immediately everyone realises how much our life depends on the proper functioning of these wires and pipes that irrigate the country. In addition to a state in charge of strategic impulses, communities are in a sense in charge of “stewardship”, which is perhaps fewer media but is just as necessary.
How do communities approach the energy transition?
At the risk of surprising you, I believe that the energy transition is a bit like our DNA. In a century, the world of energy has been in transition. First, of fossil and hydraulic origin, electricity is since the 1980s produced mainly by the atom. And our current energy mix is now enriched with new plants, whether wind or solar. Before natural gas, we had manufactured gas, commonly called city gas … We adapt to these changes all the more easily as they are worn by the territories. Before the creation of large dams and then the nuclear fleet, production was largely decentralised and they were often involved. The rise of renewable energies is therefore nothing new from this point of view, and it is not surprising that many public organisations are involved in such projects, see them fund and drive them. same. For communities, the diversification of the energy mix is self-evident. And we know there will be other mutations. Some of our members are already interested in hydrogen or storage for example.
In addition, this energy transition is based on the adaptability and robustness of our networks. Recent years have seen the emergence of smart grids. Our members are very involved in the various projects in progress. In a short time, they will soon exceed the experimental stage to allow large-scale solutions to be developed.
Is the water sector also undergoing major changes?
I must first remember that water supply and sanitation is a sector that differs from the distribution of energy by the freedom of management. Our members are equitably divided between supporters of public service delegation, entrusted to private companies, and the direct exercise of this service, usually under the management. The question now arises every time a contract expires. It is, therefore, a topic that remains topical, and that led us to acquire a specific structure, France Public Water (FEP), which brings together our members wishing to share their experiences and promote a model. 100% public.
Beyond this strategic reflection, our communities are confronted with a territorial reform, resulting from the NOTRE law, which has redrawn the perimeter of the competences, which is translated by a drastic reduction of the number of actors: from 35.000 to 1.500 – 3.000 by 2020. This is a vast reorganisation project that mobilises many actors and energy. And this reform is part of a context in which the municipalities and the EPCIs must take up the GEMAPI competence (management of aquatic environments and prevention of floods), which were hitherto exercised at all territorial levels.
The FNCCR also brings together digital players. Are they involved in the construction of very high speed or are they dedicated mainly to uses?
Both approaches are complementary. The development of uses leads naturally to increase the requirements in terms of flow. Nevertheless, it is true that we must today greatly increase our efforts to bring the very broadband in the deepest territories.
It is a huge building site, comparable in many respects to that of electrification a century ago. We believe that it should be financed with territorial solidarity tools, similar to the FACE (sinking funds for electrification charges). To this end, we recommend that the Territorial Digital Development Fund (FANT) set up in 2009 be provisionally budgeted and sustainable so that it complements the FSN by 660 million euros per year. Without financial resources, the THD deployment schedule will not meet the announced deadlines (2022 to 2025).
In addition, since many communities have established public initiative networks, we feel it is necessary to help them make these investments as efficient as possible. We have proposed the creation of a national RIP pooling operator, which could globally market the FTTH sockets with Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
These various skills have one thing in common; they’re increasingly producing data. How do you grasp the subject?
Our local public services have the ability to produce data on a daily basis and we know that this is of interest to many people. To this day, no one seems to me to have found the philosopher’s stone of the datum and no convincing economic model has yet emerged.
There are several approaches that confront each other and can be complementary. Operators collect a lot of data, which they may or may not open, both to local authorities but also to other users. We can decide to make this data available free of charge or to market it. The goal must always be the modernisation and expansion of the public service.
The National Assembly now has many parliamentarians from civil society. What can the FNCCR do for them?
The FNCCR is an association of elected officials. As such, we are concerned about the public interest and it is the values of public service that we carry in our exchanges, particularly with parliamentarians and ministerial cabinets. I welcome the arrival of new personalities and congratulate them on their election. Very beautiful files await them. Our sectors of activity involve a long process of appropriation because they are often technical subjects but this work deserves to be carried out, insofar as it is a question of ensuring, I was just going to say, the Everyday life: drinking, heating, lighting, communicating …
The origin of the Régie goes back to 1875 where a deliberation was taken for its creation in order to face public health problems related to the consumption of non-potable water. Electricity competence was attributed with the arrival of the electric fairy in 1900 and a few years after that of gas via coal gas produced on the current site of the Régie.
To date, the Régie still has these tasks in addition to those of sanitation, street lighting and traffic lights.
The Régie monitors the fluids, their productions (pumping water) and their transformation (2 source stations and one GRT gas station) as well as the distribution of these fluids. It also provides billing and collection. The Régie carries out the maintenance and extension of its networks.
As the opening of the market resulted in the end of regulated sales tariffs and the possible loss of its users, it was decided to create a company, Energies du Santerre, a sole shareholder (Gazelec) in order to compensate for the loss of these users. To date, the objective is met since Gazelec, which can only lose users on its territory, has lost fifty compensated by the 5000 gained outside its historic territory by the still growing Énergies du Santerre.
The Régie is obliged, like any electricity and gas network operator, to set up smart meters that also have the option of integrating different tariff schedules. Since 2004, the Régie has developed this communicating meter on the city of Péronne as a laboratory. The question we asked ourselves was “how to move to a higher stage while developing a control of the energy demand on the city by integrating the impact of renewable energies but also to reduce the energy bill of Péronne citizens, and for all this to be reproducible in other ELD territories or not.”
Based on this observation and experience we have with our partners, CIAC-IT and the University of Picardy Jules VERNE responded to a call for projects from Ademe where our values have found their place. I want to point out that this project is the only one in France and in Europe to have multi fluids, gas electricity and water.
It was in May 2017 that the Prime Minister sent us a letter authorizing this project that then became VERTPOM.
VertPom started with the public through a letter sent to our users informing them of this project but also asking them to participate actively in the development of the project city. This participation allows them to be active in the drafting of the website to make known their expectations but also to be actors in the field as consumers.
Feedback was positive seeing that a hundred people attended the two public meetings and 30 are volunteers for active participation in VertPom.
Today there are more than 2000 Ibox (Electronic Counters) registered, Version 4 of the software Idems is being migrated and we have sent a first questionnaire validated by the 30 actors / Ambassadors of VertPom.
For the moment I cannot say too much without the agreement of the consortium and especially since we are in competition with other projects.
However, I can tell you that meters are being tested in a European country for the solution of smart meters and these are telemetered by the Régie. A second country has just signed our confidentiality agreement for the solution of multi-fluids, gas, water and electricity. Finally, exchanges are underway with two other countries outside of Europe.
Our involvement in this commercialisation will be according to demand. Indeed, with an experience in the world of energy but also in networks that we operate, we will be able to answer any questions or support on these topics whether it be:
In addition, we must not forget the marketing part that we provide at GAZELEC on its territory by keeping our green and yellow tariffs despite the opening of the market in France. We must also keep in mind that we have developed through Energies Santerre, which has more than doubled our customers outside our historic territory by offering gas and electricity contracts throughout France.
Our VertPom project is at the heart of energy efficiency.
I say at the heart because VertPom integrates energy from its production to the point of consumption via an energy bank as well as different algorithms and according to supply and demand. VertPom integrates users as actors but also via a dedicated site and a single access for all energies. It also uses the instrumentation of public energy-consuming buildings along with positive energy, such as the seat of the Régie, in order to know the customs and energy-consuming positions. This instrumentation will be present on the distribution networks to integrate the effect of renewable energies in the energy bank. This instrumentation will also be reproducible on the networks of the different managers, which means that the GRD’s participation can be dispensed with by paying for its data of time-shifted measurements. VertPom is made up of 5 PhD students from the University of Picardie Jules VERNE in energy and sociologists.
Furthermore, the problem of the consumptions of electricity and gas is generally approached and that the water, in spite of the fact that it becomes more and more rare in our tablecloths, has for me not yet its place in these objectives.
Pour télécharger l’article “VERTPOM® :
Pour des territoires à énergie positive modulaire, Multifluides – Décarbonés – Numérisés,
VERTPOM® acronym for “Veritable enERgy of a Territory that is POsitive and Modular” was launched in June 2017 with the support of the Program of Future Investments operated by the ADEME. This multi-fluid, multi-energy process develops intelligence applied to networks by optimizing resources in order to obtain the territory’s energy independence.
VERTPOM® is supported by a consortium that develops and deploys a VERTPOM-BANK® decision support tool called the energy bank. This will maintain an optimized balance between the available energy from the production (conventional and renewable energy) with regard to uses (consumption and losses), in connection with the means of energy storage. It is the tool allowing a given territory to turn into a positive energy territory “POSET”.
The energy bank is based on algorithms for prediction and simulations of energy production levels, consumption levels and losses on the various distribution systems. It operates a common database (Big Data). The use of artificial intelligence will be encouraged (machine learning, deep learning).
Upstream, the territory’s energy level (positive or negative) will be evaluated. Then the energy bank will look for and simulate all possible scenarios to improve the production / use balance, while identifying renewable energies specific to the territory.
Energy networks must be more responsive, flexible, and thus promote interactions between market players. The BANK OF ENERGY will contribute to these objectives by proposing various functionalities:
VERTPOM® combines new advanced information and communication network technologies while also respecting data protection (RGPD).
The territory is at the crossroads of energy, climate, economic, environmental, social and societal issues.
Increasing the volume of information multiplies the prospects for their use with the need to develop new technical solutions to manage them while ensuring their security (cyber security) and the privacy of consumers.
Tomorrow, the fundamental role and responsibilities with regard to data management will be essentially: be a market facilitator, allow network access and connection in a transparent and non-discriminatory way, and ensure security of supply and quality of service.
The steps and the approach of the VERTPOM® process are illustrated in a synthetic way by the following diagram:
VERTPOM® is a modular global offer, consisting of techno-economic packages ranging from energy management to user monitoring and include cyber-security, scalable storage, energy efficiency of public infrastructures…
It is adapted to the French and international Distribution System Operators (DSOs) market. Europe and MENA countries are particularly targeted.
GAZELEC, THE UNIVERSITY OF PICARDIE JULES VERNE, the cities of PERONNE and SAINT QUENTIN in the Hauts de France are the showcase of French know-how at the international level.
Within the consortium, VERTPOM® is managed by: CIAC INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES, a JEI “Jeune Entreprise Innovante” (Young Innovative Company) specialist in energy and communication technologies and developer of the GO-IDems® concept, the multi-fluid Smart Grid “turnkey” solution.
GAZELEC DE PÉRONNE Multi-fluid Distribution Network Manager (electricity, gas and water)
THE UNIVERSITY OF PICARDIE JULES VERNE
The cities of PERONNE and SAINT QUENTIN in the Hauts de France
GAZELEC de PERONNE distributes and manages on its territory its users and customers including 1400 public lighting points from:
THE UNIVERSITY OF PICARDIE JULES VERNE employs five specialized laboratories:
CONTACTS: email@example.com et firstname.lastname@example.org
CIAC IT and all the partners of the Vertpom consortium will be present at the “European Utility Week” (Pavillon France), which will take place in Vienna, Austria, from November 6 to 8, 2018.
“Why do European buildings hold the key to an energy efficient Europe?”
The rational use of energy and the increased use of energy from non-fossil sources are two major assets of any policy aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities, thus contributing to our climate policies.
Why, as is often said, is energy one of the key parameters of any climate policy?
Jean-Louis Bal. Most of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change are emitted by fossil fuels. It is therefore essential if by the end of the century we want global warming to increase by two degrees, to drastically reduce the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix. Given their maturity, their competitiveness and their diversity, renewable energies are now able to replace, in many countries, fossil fuels.
The work of the International Energy Agency (IEA), carried out four years ago, showed that renewable energies could contribute to at least a 25% reduction of GHG emissions by the end of the century. If we repeat the exercise today, this percentage would be even higher, given the significant progress made over the past four years by solar photovoltaic and wind power, considered today as two of the most competitive energies with solar energy. hydroelectricity. Historically, renewable energies have emerged and developed in OECD countries where they received public support. At present, the emerging countries have taken over: China, India, South Africa, Brazil … have significant needs for energy and, in particular, for electricity, linked to their growth; they invest in hydropower, wind power and photovoltaic solar energy, actively contributing to the development of these markets. The renewable energy sector employs 7.7 million people worldwide.
In France, it represents 100,000 jobs and will double tomorrow, if our country gets underway to achieve the goal of 23% of the renewable energy it has set for 2020.
As you have pointed out on a number of occasions, France will have a hard time meeting the 2020 European targets for renewable energies; can you explain this delay?
J-L. B. The European Union aims to meet 20% of its final energy consumption by renewable energies by 2020. This ambition represents 23% for France. Even if we have exceeded the 14% mark, the goal of 23% will be difficult to reach by 2020. Why such a situation? Several reasons: one of them lies in the administrative framework applicable, in particular, to wind energy. Today, it takes on average 7 to 8 years to complete the installation of a wind farm, when it takes 4 years in Germany. The situation is identical for hydroelectricity and methanation. Elsewhere in France, various renewable energy sectors have suffered sudden changes. Thus, if the conditions for the development of solar photovoltaic were met before 2010, the year 2011 was a handicap to the sector. After lowering the electricity purchase tariffs, the Government decided that only installations on buildings of less than 100 kWp would be affected by electricity purchase tariffs by EDF, those over 100 kWp and ground-based power plants being tendered. These have been very irregular in recent years and focused on insufficient volumes.
On the other hand, certain schemes, such as the Heat Fund managed by ADEME, which has benefited from biomass heat production since 2009, are fulfilling their objective. From 2009 to 2014, 1.2 billion Euros were thus contributed to the projects developed in the field and made it possible to replace fossil fuels with 1.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent, mainly from wood energy and geothermal energy. The mechanism works well, but it is necessary to increase this boost of the state, as decided Ségolène Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. For wood energy, there is also a need to improve the wood supply. If we have in France, with the third forest of Europe, an important resource, it is still necessary to help the forestry sector to structure itself. And we are happy that, since this year, part of the Heat Fund is dedicated to this structuring; the call for projects launched by ADEME on this subject met with a broad response. This is a positive sign.
What do the professionals in the renewable energy sector expect from COP 21?
J-L. B. In December, if the 195 member countries of the United Nations can agree on the objectives to be achieved, for such a resolution – limiting global warming to 2 ° – to bear fruit, in practice, it will still be necessary to give a price to carbon. This will change economic behaviour and favour the best uses of energy and further develop renewable energies.
France will have a hard time meeting its 2020 targets for renewable energy. Does this mean that it will not reach the European target of 27% by 2030?
A major response document to this question is the law for energy transition and green growth, the final adoption of which is expected shortly; the measures it contains make it realistic to increase our renewable energy mix to 32%. This requires the establishment of a legal, fiscal and favourable regulatory framework. We will carefully study the documents that will specify the content of the law. The challenge is to achieve a multi-annual energy program, with a specific approach for each sector by 2023, with the possibility of revision in 2018, and allocation of public resources through mechanisms such as the Heat Fund, the tax credit or the CSPE.
In the spring, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) carried out a study on an electric bouquet entirely composed of “green” resources by 2050. What is the data to be considered in this area?
In France, the physical deposit allows it, whether wind or photovoltaic. Beyond that, it is also necessary to balance the electric system minute by minute, which is an important issue, given the variable nature of renewable energies.
The answers for doing so are in energy storage and what we call “smart grids”. The ADEME study to which the SER, like other actors in the sector, has been associated with, is not predictive, as it does not set scenarios. But programming is important. For example, the Regional Climate Air Energy Schemes created by the Grenelle Laws and co-piloted by the Regional Prefect and the President of the Regional Council, issue at regional level, some of the European legislation on climate and energy, with objectives to both quantitative and qualitative. They allow RTE, the manager responsible for electricity transmission, to program the connection to the grid of renewable energy sources and to avoid grid saturation.
Are the positive energy territories provided for in the law for energy transition and green growth an interesting device? what are the best ways to analyse them?
J-L. B. This is an interesting scheme, which will benefit from the Heat Fund. But it is not a question of producing energy locally by aiming for the autonomy or the autarky of neighbourhoods, cities or territories, in this domain. Much of the renewable energy field is in rural areas. However, it is in cities and dense urban areas that energy needs are the most important. It will, therefore, be necessary to pool the resource, by sending back on the general network the electricity produced.
The FCH JU (Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) public-private partnership between industry, research and the European Commission has pioneered new developments in fuel cell and hydrogen (FCH) technology over the past decade. Now, with applications ranging from transport to energy storage on the cusp of commercialisation across Europe, and ‘green’ hydrogen, produced from renewable energy, showing huge potential for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it’s looking like hydrogen could become an integral part of local and regional authorities’ decarbonisation plans.
With the transport sector reliant on oil for 94% of its energy needs, decarbonisation is a big challenge in the only major sector where emissions today are well above 1990 levels. Low carbon transport is being addressed by many of the FCH JU-funded projects, amongst which is H2ME, an ambitious European-scale field demonstration of the reliability of hydrogen vehicles.
Co-funded by the FCH JU (EUR 67 million out of EUR 167 million total cost), from the EU’s research and innovation programme H2020, H2ME is bringing the benefits of hydrogen energy closer to citizens, by adding 49 new hydrogen refuelling stations across ten countries. As part of the project, more than 1400 private and commercial fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) – cars and vans – and range-extender vehicles that can refuel with both electricity and hydrogen are being put on the road. FCEVs have range and refuelling times comparable to that of conventional internal combustion engine cars, but with the advantages of greatly reduced noise and air pollution.
H2ME project manager Lisa Ruf sees regions and cities as the primary actors when it comes to attracting investment from the hydrogen industry. She says: “The best way for local authorities to encourage investment is by showing their willingness to support deployment: not just financially, but by putting in place a local/regional plan and a platform for exchange between local stakeholders.”
Green hydrogen potential
Already, using conventional hydrogen to power cars results in 20% less GHG emissions than the equivalent internal combustion engine vehicles. However, using ‘green’ hydrogen, produced with renewable power, results in zero emissions transport. Green hydrogen also offers a storage solution for excess electricity generated by intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
With more renewable power generation, market demand for energy storage is expanding rapidly. The FCH JU has already started to allocate considerable resources to the refinement of the electrolysis process used to produce hydrogen. Thirty of the FCH JU’s 43 hydrogen-production projects support the development of electrolysers for energy applications in order to unlock the vast potential of green hydrogen for decarbonising not only transport, but also industry and heating sectors, thereby contributing to the EU’s 2016 Clean Energy Package and its targets on energy storage and sectoral integration.
Energy transition in action: UK, Belgium, Denmark, Italy
Harnessing these different applications of fuel cell and hydrogen technology, the FCH JU-funded (EUR 5 million out of EUR 7.25 million) BIG HIT project on the Orkney Islands explores the creation of a replicable hydrogen territory. By converting excess renewable electricity into hydrogen for use in both stationary applications for heating buildings, and in the transport sector in a small fleet of vans, it will be a world-first demonstration of a fully integrated model of hydrogen production, storage, transportation and utilisation: a complete energy system for these remote islands.
Another recently finished project supported by the FCH JU, Don Quichote, tested the commercial viability of an integrated hydrogen storage system and refuelling facility in Belgium, using wind and solar energy to generate hydrogen – fuelling material handling vehicles (forklifts) in a warehouse/supermarket environment as well as FCEVs.
The HyBalance project in Denmark (EUR 8 million from FCH JU out of EUR 15 million total) is accelerating the development of a clean transportation network by producing hydrogen from renewables to be supplied to light industry and 60 FCEVs.
DEMOSOFC (EUR 4.2 million from FCH JU of EUR 5.9 million total) has trialled a biogas fuel cell plant converting biogas from waste water treatment process to electrical and thermal power with zero emissions, with exciting replication potential: the project has estimated that 90% of the waste water treatment plants in Europe, or more than 26,889 sites, could use the same technology, thereby generating new energy from a by-product of the waste water purification line.
Reaching out to regional authorities and cities
The recent agreement reached on Energy Union governance emphasizes local governments’ role in the energy transition, with local and regional authorities contributing to the national energy and climate plans for 2030.
Since 2017 the FCH JU has been working with 90 public authorities at municipal and regional level, which together represent about a quarter of the European population and GDP to foster the uptake of FCH technologies by local and regional authorities, the FCH JU has set up a platform to exchange up-to-date information on the technology, and has also carried out a study which forecasts that up to EUR 1.8 billion will be invested in fuel cell and hydrogen deployment projects from the public and private sectors over the next five years.
The newest FCH JU study: “Fuel Cells and Hydrogen for Green Energy in European Cities and Regions”, shows among others that:
Want to find out more? Check out FCH JU’s initiative for local and regional authorities.
ENGIE is at the forefront of the energy revolution to accelerate the advent of an energy system where energy will be decentralized, decarbonised and digitalized and where renewable energies will have a predominant role. We believe that renewable hydrogen, produced by electrolysis of water, can accelerate the massive deployment of intermittent renewables, because it allows the storage of renewable energies in large quantities and over a long period of time. It helps to ensure that the sun shines at night. It is the missing link to a 100% carbon-free energy system.
The share of renewable energies in the global energy mix will continue to increase. Energy systems will rely more on intermittent sources of energy: the production profile of these energies varies, is sporadic and impossible to predict. In addition, areas rich in renewable resources, whose production potential will have to be maximized, will sometimes be remote from consumption areas. Energy systems need to be thought out again to ensure security of supply at the best cost. This means we must be able to massively store the carbon-free energy (in particular to cover seasonal needs but also to provide flexibility solutions to increasingly unstable energy systems) as well as to transport it from the production sites to the consumption areas. To date, electric batteries are able to cope with short –term needs, but do not cover seasonal modulation: how to use the solar energy produced during Summer time to cover the demand over Winter? how to deal with situations where intermittent renewables are unable to produce power for several days? Renewable hydrogen is part of the solution.
Beyond storage, hydrogen is a multipurpose energy vector. It can be used in different forms. It is used as a feedstock in industrial processes, it can also be injected into gas networks. It can also be reconverted into electricity via fuel cells and has turbines, serve as fuel for vehicles, offer solutions (cold and heat) for the thermal needs of buildings.
ENGIE’s vision is a future based on a renewable multi-energy mix (biogas, solar, wind, hydraulic …) made possible by renewable hydrogen, which allows:
As a result, renewable hydrogen can decarbonise all the segments that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions: power generation, mobility, and industrial processes.
According to a study performed by Mc Kinsey at the request of the Hydrogen Council, the size of the Hydrogen market is expected to increase by a factor of 10 by 2050. By this time hydrogen is expected to reach around 20 % of the final energy demand. It should help reduce CO2 emissions by 6 Gt/y. As such, Renewable hydrogen will make an important contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals of keeping global warming below 2 ° C.
We have the ambition to be a key player in renewable energies. For over 20 years, ENGIE has been researching this field. We have already developed several demonstrators and have several projects underway within the group. We launched in Rungis the largest hydrogen utility fleet in France in parallel of an alternative multi-fuel station, to allow, among other things, the refueling of our Kangoo cars, hybrid electric hydrogen vehicles developed by SYMBIO, a company of which we are shareholders together with Michelin.
The GRHYD project in Dunkerque tests the production of hydrogen from renewable electricity, its injection in the natural gas distribution network and the production of hythane (a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas) for the GNV buses of the Urban Community.
Regarding off-grid system, the island of Semakau off Singapore has become a real-size laboratory for the deployment of a self-sufficient energy network, a multi-energy microgrid. This project is the world’s largest microgrid demonstrator by its production of hydrogen by electrolysis of water, by its storage of hybrid energies with batteries and hydrogen, by the size of its fuel cells to deliver power and by its hydrogen refueling station in for mobility.
It is this conviction that led us a few months ago to create a global business unit dedicated to renewable hydrogen. ENGIE has the ambition to become a major player in renewable hydrogen, with a global presence and across the whole value chain. We rely on the expertise and skills of all Group’s teams. The vocation of the newly created business unit (BU) is to develop large-scale projects with complementary partners.
We are targeting first areas with high renewable potential, where the group already has a strong local anchorage. We proceed step by step by developing phased large-scale projects in order to integrate the best technological developments and designs as we go along, at the best cost. This new business unit operates in a start-up mode, meaning notably based on an intrapreuneurial spirit completed by an agile approach.
I think that the technical stakes are threefold: to address the design of global installation which must combine several elementary bricks (renewables, electrolysis, storage and transport), by optimizing them, to continue to increase the performances of each equipment throughout the chain of production. And last, the industrialization of technologies (of which the electrolyser) that are today manufactured at a smaller scale.
In addition, the development of hydrogen storage technologies is key to massively develop hydrogen. It can be stored compressed, in liquid form or combined with hydrogen-capturing elements such as hydrides or organic compounds. The works and developments are numerous and very promising. It will possible to transport hydrogen over long distances (between countries) and to store it massively to manage energy inter-seasonality issues.
However, this sector is not totally competitive at present compared to CO2 emitting solutions. It is necessary to reduce the production costs of hydrogen by electrolysis and storage costs in order to make it competitive. This requires the development of large scale solutions. Size matters to lower production costs.
It should also involve putting in place innovative public and private partnerships. The industry needs to be accompanied in its early years. There are few devices in place to accelerate the development of renewable hydrogen. However, California can be cited for its commitment to an ambitious carbon free plan aiming for 100% renewable electricity by 2045.
ENGIE is the leader in renewable energies in France and has all the competencies across the gas and electricity value chain (production, storage, transport and distribution). Green hydrogen entails knowing how to work on electricity, gas and storage and we know how to do all that.
However, to further develop the hydrogen market we must lower production costs to improve the competitiveness of this energy vector, namely by industrializing the manufacturing of equipment such as electrolysers (at the heart of the hydrogen chain) and which are getting bigger and bigger. This is in line with the production of solar energy, whose costs have dropped by 80% in 10 years.
Japan has announced that it will use the Olympic Games as a unique opportunity to advance, promote the use of hydrogen. Paris 2024 will capitalize on the Japanese experience, just as Los Angeles in 2028 will capitalize on all the previous ones. The idea is to go further each time.
Paris 2024 will offer the most sustainable Games in history, a resolutely sustainable and responsible offer in line with the Paris Agreement and where renewable hydrogen will have its place in the scheme. Moreover, it should be noted that ENGIE was partner of the Paris bid for the organization of these Olympic Games, a partnership formalized around the theme of “Sharing the energy revolution,” a theme in line with ENGIE’s commitment to energy transition.
More than a billion people in the world do not have access to electricity, 2.3 billion people do not have access to energy. Without energy, health, education, food security, economic development, mobility and employment cannot be fully implemented. The supply of energy through hydrogen would allow to reduce these disparities and would give all these regions access to what’s essential in life.
As far as mobility is concerned, green hydrogen has a role to play. Our transportation systems are 95% oil dependent and the sector is responsible for 23% of CO2 emissions worldwide. With the growth of urbanization by 2050, 2/3 of us will live in the city, car transport will be multiplied by 2. We can design green mobility solutions that respond to changing usage patterns and that are zero-emissions (neither pollutant nor noise).
In the end, renewable hydrogen will make it possible to develop decarbonised energy systems contributing to the development of territories, local circular economies benefiting local communities: energy, water (by desalination of seawater), employment. Renewable energies are a common good and technological innovation allows for a more harmonious progress.
Collaborate with SMEs to make fuel cells and make hydrogen a daily reality.
Renewable electricity can support decarbonization not only in the energy sector, but also through the sectoral integration of other carbon-intensive industries, such as refining. Green hydrogen is a key factor in this process and contributes to the objectives of the Energy Union.
Deployment of energy storage is an indispensable instrument for improving flexibility and providing services to the energy system in line with EU energy and climate policy
Would you introduce EASE, its mission and competencies, its members and what they represent?
The European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) is the leading member-supported association representing organisations active across the entire energy storage value chain. EASE supports the deployment of energy storage to support the cost-effective transition to a resilient, low-carbon, and secure energy system.
EASE has almost 40 members including utilities, technology suppliers, research institutes, distribution system operators, and transmission system operators. Together, EASE members have significant expertise across all major storage technologies and applications. This allows us to generate new ideas and policy recommendations that are essential to build a regulatory framework that is supportive of storage.
At EASE, we support all energy storage technologies, as each can play an important role in the energy system. Short-duration storage devices such as flywheels and batteries can respond to imbalances within milliseconds, while longer-duration solutions like pumped hydro, thermal storage or even future technology options like hydrogen storage, can provide weekly, monthly, or even seasonal storage. Our mission is to ensure that all technologies can compete on a level playing field, to strengthen the business case for storage, and to advocate for more R&D funding.
What are the big European issues in terms of energy storage? Will the way storage is defined have a significant impact?
Since storage is a relatively new player in the energy system, the existing regulatory and policy framework is in many ways not conducive to the deployment of storage. The main challenge is the legal uncertainty about the role of storage in the energy system: it is considered in some Member states both as a generation and a consumption asset depending on its operation mode. This leads to energy storage devices in some Member States being subject to double grid fees and charges.
Furthermore, it is still being debated whether storage can be owned and operated by distribution and transmission system operators (DSOs, TSOs) for grid operation purposes. The lack of market-based procurement and the absence of long-term contracts for system and ancillary services also hamper investment security. For example, the ownership of batteries by DSOs after authorisation by the NRA may improve efficient management of congestions and replace or delay investment in grid reinforcement.
A proper definition of storage is also necessary. Energy storage may have cross-sectorial interfaces, such as electricity “in” and heat or gas “out” that can be considered in some cases as energy storage and in other cases as a final use of energy. The definition should be as inclusive as possible for all types and applications of energy storage that complement traditional technologies and uses such as pumped hydro-storage or batteries, in order to facilitate the development of efficient and feasible technologies.
From a research and innovation standpoint, the main challenge for all energy storage technologies is to reduce costs and enhance efficiency. There is a need to further develop the different services and applications storage can provide, and to explore ways to combine and monetise these services.
The European Commission, Parliament, and Member States are currently finalising the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” Package, which will address many of the above points and will therefore have a significant impact on the storage sector.
What is the impact of energy storage on the environment?
Transitioning to a low-carbon energy system is impossible without firm and flexible assets that enable matching variable renewable energy sources (RES) generation to energy consumption. Energy storage is a key enabling technology, as it can provide flexibility services at all levels of the power grid, helping transmission and distribution grids function more effectively and deferring potentially costly investments. Storage can provide contingency during supply interruption events, reducing the impact on customers. Storage can also support the decarbonisation of fossil fuel-intensive sectors such as transport and heating and cooling.
Overall, storage can have an important positive impact on the environment, and the storage industry is committed to further improving its footprint. For example, R&D efforts are ongoing to enhance the sustainability of storage technologies, for instance by recycling battery storage materials.
What are the necessary conditions to allow for investments in energy storage and what kind of business model is suitable?
Already, we see viable business models for storage in Europe, for instance on islands. With rapid cost reductions and significant developments across different technologies, we expect the business case to become more and more favourable, although several barriers remain.
A clear and stable regulatory framework that recognises storage as a key element of the energy system is fundamental for increasing investor confidence. There will not be any investment certainty without regulatory clarity on long-term contracts for system and ancillary services provided by storage. A robust storage business case often depends on the ability to ‘stack’ several different services on one storage device. Regulation should therefore favour the location of storage devices where most value is created and more services are provided, usually closer to electricity demand nodes. Those services may sometimes be monetised and tendered on the market and in other cases a cost-based remuneration regulation might be the best solution. Inefficient barriers to entry for new players and technologies should be reduced.
What are your goals for the coming Energy Storage Global Conference?
This year, we are proud to organise the third edition of the Energy Storage Global Conference in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. We aim to welcome more than 300 delegates, 15 exhibitors and over 50 speakers to Brussels to discover the main drivers and challenges affecting the energy storage sector today.
We aim to help participants discover the next energy storage breakthrough technology and learn about cutting-edge research. Participants will have the chance to network with EU policymakers and regulators as well as leading storage experts. They will learn how to address regulatory barriers and shape the future legal framework for energy storage. Moreover we will present successful, replicable business cases for storage from around the world. Participants can learn about financing and maximising the revenues of their storage projects, and find out more about the rationale behind private stakeholders’ decisions to invest.
This three-day event, which will take place on 24-26 October 2018 in Brussels, will be the perfect forum to learn about energy storage technologies, policies and markets, and network with representatives from all over the world.
What are your hopes and expectations for the next College of Commissioners and newly elected European Parliament ?
EU policymakers are increasingly recognising the immense value storage can bring for the energy system. In particular, the latest developments in the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package of legislative proposals are a big step in the right direction for storage.
It is our hope that the newly elected European Parliament and College of Commissioners will build on this positive momentum. We hope that they will recognise the central role storage can play in achieving the EU’s ambitious decarbonisation and RES targets. Much more needs to be done to create a level playing field for all storage technologies. The actions that EU policymakers take in the next few years – e.g., increasing the research, development, and deployment funding available to storage technologies – could have an enormous impact on the future of the storage sector.
As we define the EU’s mid-century low carbon emissions strategy, it is clear that achieving our ambitious vision for the future energy system will require hard work, commitment, and continuous collaboration between policymakers, industry, and society. We are sure that the new Parliament and Commission will be up for the challenge!
Interview with Vincent Dufour, Head of EDF European Affairs
Before looking ahead to the next EU elections, which will be all-important for the future of Europe, I’d like to talk about where we’ve been.
Europe has not seen any major conflicts for 60 years now. It has attracted foreign investment and introduced social policies that are more generous than in most parts of the world. These are real accomplishments. We did not get where we are today by chance.
The Europe we live in was built through the patient and determined efforts of past generations to create a space that was free, secure, competitive and united. We are now enjoying the fruit of those efforts. Today’s Europe may be far from perfect, but it does represent an unprecedented example of political construction around these four priorities, without which we would not be able to face the disorders of the world. This is particularly true in the areas of energy and the climate, where these four priorities are essential landmarks guiding us toward a successful and responsible transition.
It was these landmarks that inspired the Energy Union plan proposed by the Juncker Commission, which gave a name to Europe’s energy transition and placed a sharp focus on decarbonisation. Part of the path has been cleared, but our work is just beginning…
Let’s look at what’s been accomplished to date:
– Europe is a space where energy exchanges between Member States have risen steadily over the past 20 years. It has an increasingly integrated energy market, and regional cooperation and interconnections are expanding despite large disparities between countries’ individual situations. The European power grid is today the most interconnected in the world with 341 cross-border lines that even extend beyond the EU’s internal borders to link 34 countries. Moreover, the resilience of the power system has been strengthened thanks to the risk preparedness measures included in the clean energy package. Europe will thus be able to rely on robust mechanisms to ensure mutual assistance in the event of emergencies, leaving it better prepared to face major hazards and supply shortage risks.
– Since launching its carbon allowance market 15 years ago, Europe has been a pioneer in the world’s quest to tackle global warming. Some 11,000 power plants and industrial sites with high CO2 emissions are now part of the trading system, which was reformed last year. Late in 2015, the Paris Climate Agreement set out a path to limit global warming between now and the end of the century to 2°C. European citizens fully understand the importance of that goal: 92% of them say climate change is one of their biggest concerns for the future. On a global scale, the EU only accounts for 10% of emissions, meaning that it alone obviously cannot get the planet on track to meet the target, but it can clearly show others the way and even act as a political counterweight to the contrarian views of the president of the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States. Unfortunately, there is no “planet B” for us to fall back on…
– Europe can help tackle this global challenge by leveraging its world-class expertise in essential decarbonised generation technologies like hydro, solar, wind and nuclear power, which together make up more than half of the European energy mix. Today, Europe exports its electricity expertise to competitive markets across the globe as well as to populations for which access to electricity is still a vital issue. This is a core priority for our Group, and it is important that Europe’s expertise be protected and consolidated so it can claim its rightful place in future decarbonisation projects across the world.
On this topic, I should also mention an oft-overlooked fact that places EDF on the cutting edge of decarbonisation in Europe and the world: the electricity the Group produces has one of the lowest carbon intensities anywhere – 82g of CO2 per kWh compared with a European sector average of 275g. Because its energy mix primarily comprises renewables and nuclear, EDF is helping keep Europe’s average carbon factor relatively low. Without its contribution, the average European carbon factor would be a third higher, at 365g of CO2 per kWh produced.
Now let’s move on to what remains to be done
Multifaceted challenges still need to be overcome, and we must address them in ways that allow us to correct existing imbalances and avoid creating new ones.
– The first challenge is political and relates to Europe’s energy independence. There is no denying that the EU is growing ever more gas-dependent as its own resources become scarcer. The risk of becoming too dependent on suppliers outside the European Union, whether for imports of gas or of components that are vital to growing sectors of activity like solar power and storage, should remain a top priority for EU decision-makers during the next legislative cycle. We cannot have a resilient energy policy without an effort to limit dependence in an area like energy, which is essential both to citizens and to the economy as a whole.
Over the next 30 years, it will be even more important to accelerate the electrification of the European economy, using domestic and decarbonised resources: solar, wind, nuclear and hydro. Electrification efforts have stopped in several European countries in recent years. Germany’s case is the most worrisome: electrification there ground to a halt in 2005 while the country’s dependence on fossil fuels increased, pushing it to secure long-term gas supply via the Nord Stream 2 project. The best way to decarbonise the European economy is to achieve a much higher level of electrification than today’s extremely low 22%. Gradually lifting the rate above 40%, and even toward 60% in 2050, would translate into a 95% reduction in carbon emissions, in line with the Paris Agreement targets. Given progress made with energy efficiency, raising the electrification rate to 40-60% would result in moderate growth over the period in electricity demand, which has proved easy to absorb in the past (barely over 1% a year), and require grid strengthening (including interconnections) at a pace comparable to the past two decades.
– The second challenge is economic and financial: Europe must be able to count on sufficiently competitive European energy operators in a world where international competition is fierce. While remaining open to the trading that benefits it greatly, Europe must continue to give itself the means to fight dumping practices that could weaken it or put its energy sector on a path to ever greater dependence going forward. We should learn from our experience with the development of solar power in the 2000s and how it has left us today with a near absolute industrial dependence on outside sources.
Under these circumstances, we can only applaud the Commission’s efforts to promote the development of a European battery industry that covers the entire value chain. EDF is proud to have been a stakeholder in the European Battery Alliance from day one. Over the coming years, we must complement these developments by strengthening financial and European regulatory tools and instruments. Moreover, we need to reform competition policy in order to encourage investments and the emergence of European champions in strategic sectors like storage and the decarbonised energy sector as a whole. We will also need to further develop the cooperative practices that will allow this industry to take off quickly. It is in this spirit that EDF allows third parties to test and prepare their storage solutions of the future in its testing centres. Other similar initiatives will be necessary, for instance targeting value chains that are strategic for Europe. EDF supports efforts such as these that could lead to promising new industrial developments in Europe.
– The third challenge relates to regulations: the future European electricity market must make it possible to decarbonise the EU economy at the lowest cost, moving past a system based on an accumulation of subsidies and a sort of “short-term dictatorship”, as these have created too much dysfunction.
This issue deserves closer analysis. I’ll cite two key characteristics as examples of that dysfunction: one is a situation of overall excess capacity and the other is the persistence of a large gap between wholesale and retail electricity prices in Europe. The latter have trended steadily higher in the past few years while the former moved lower until recently.
The causes are well known. Excess capacity is the result of the heavily subsidised solar and wind capacity that has come on stream, altering the functioning of the market and interfering with investment signals. This new capacity was added at a time when electricity demand was declining in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The end-result of all this is overcapacity. As for the gap between wholesale and retail prices, the excess production generated by this new capacity has driven wholesale prices down while the charges and taxes on consumers’ electric bills have risen steadily to cover subsidies, pushing retail prices up. This has created a continuously imbalanced energy market despite recent efforts to improve the situation, the most significant of them being the inclusion in the clean energy package of a requirement that renewable technologies that have reached maturity be subject to the same rights and obligations as conventional ones:
Note that there is no way to guarantee that investments in decarbonised sources will be the most competitive. In other words, the goal is not to simply launch more projects or make energy sobriety a virtue without considering its costs. The European energy transition cannot avoid the “price reality”. In this regard, the key to decarbonising the European economy while containing costs is to have a carbon price consistently above €30 a tonne. Although it was followed by a slight uptick in the carbon price, the latest reform of the EU ETS does not ensure a high enough price to trigger investment in decarbonised technology at least cost and in the long term. Furthermore, today’s carbon price still does not provide an incentive to replace old thermal power plants that operate over a large part of the year with carbon-free generation sources. New measures will thus be required soon to boost the carbon price. This would also ensure that renewables and energy efficiency are developed based primarily not on a mere target but rather on a price, guaranteeing that consumers get carbon-free electricity at the lowest cost.
Similarly, long-term contracts to develop low-carbon technologies, which are particularly capital-intensive, would provide the visibility necessary to effectively get them started with a low cost of capital, for the benefit of consumers.
– The fourth challenge is of a technological and societal nature: it relates to flexibility and making the transition fair and equitable. Security of electricity supply is determined by complex balances wherein the variability of energies and flexibility of demand play a key role, and will even more so going forward. We know that we can increase the share in the energy mix of variable renewables – solar and wind – up to 40% on average without jeopardising security of supply. But a mix with more than 50% variable renewables will require technological breakthroughs that we do not currently master. On the demand side, greater involvement of local governments and consumers will also be a key feature of the power systems of the future. Self-production and connected tools, now an integral part of local smart grids, will impact the flexibility reserves that can be called up by the power system to serve the community: examples could include times when a company wants to recharge its entire fleet of electric vehicles or when an individual or building decides to send into the power grid a portion of the electricity self-produced with solar roof panels.
All of this will have to be synchronised and managed with extreme care. There are two pitfalls that we believe it will be particularly important to avoid:
At the same time, the smart grids of the future will also need to be resilient in the face of new threats including cyberattacks. In particular, the design of renewable energy projects currently does not include enough cybersecurity technology even though attacks are mounting. While there is specific legislation to protect critical EU infrastructure, we believe Europe could benefit from bolstering its strategic thinking about the risk cyberattacks pose to the energy systems of the future and the best protections against that risk.
In sum, we can see the path we need to follow, but we can also see the many pitfalls that could cause us to miss our window of opportunity for a successful energy transition over the next 30 years.
This “leap forward”, as you call it, is what we do every day. The current energy transition is in fact the third of its kind. We had a boom in coal and hydropower after the Second World War, then the nuclear fleet was developed in the 1970s in response to the first oil shock. We had to master these technologies to make the first two transitions successful, and that’s what we did.
This third transition is being guided by climate change risks: it is forcing us to promote energy sobriety and, while still focused on the generation side, it is increasingly spilling over to the demand side as well. The goal is no longer to master one production technology but rather to be able to offer consumers and local authorities a range of high-tech solutions to address more individual situations.
EDF is undergoing radical changes and reinventing some of its businesses in response to this paradigm shift. Insofar as the energy sector is the biggest source of CO2 emissions in Europe, we are on the frontline of this battle, and developing a portfolio of increasingly diversified solutions specifically to adapt to this new paradigm.
Make no mistake: the task that lies ahead is enormous. The world will not meet the Paris targets at the current rate. After stagnating for three years, CO2 emissions have continued to increase, hitting record-breaking highs. Without a burst of progress and decisive action by the main carbon-emitting countries, cities and sectors (e.g. energy, transport and building industries, cities) between now and 2050, temperatures will continue to rise even faster, doing irreparable harm to the environment and societies (displacement of populations).
This is why fighting global warming is at the very top of EDF’s six corporate social responsibility goals: our aim is to “go beyond the requirements of the 2°C trajectory set by COP 21 by drastically reducing our CO2 emissions”. The new low-carbon strategy adopted by EDF accelerates the pace, setting a carbon-neutrality target for 2050. Though the Group is already contributing significantly to reducing the European power sector’s carbon footprint, it decided to sharply cut its own direct CO2 emissions to 30 million tonnes in 2030 from 51 million tonnes in 2017. This target implies a 40% decrease in direct emissions from the current level, which would bring emissions down to about 40g/KWh.
In this spirit, EDF is supporting the European Union in achieving carbon neutrality as part of its future long-term climate strategy. Furthermore, on this critical path, we are in favour of all reassessments of Europe’s ambition that would increase emissions reduction targets for 2030.
– To meet its drastic emissions reduction target, the Group has decided to work on different components of the power system simultaneously and in a complementary way:
– Key actions already taken include the closure of coal- and oil-fired plants on the one hand and the service life extension and development of carbon-free technologies on the other:
– Electricity storage is the other key area where the Group has already bolstered its presence. Costs associated with battery storage have been reduced by a factor of five in under a decade, bringing the technology out of laboratories and into actual industry. It complements the traditional means of storing electricity: hydroelectric dams. Smaller in size and with different technical characteristics and a more decentralised nature, battery storage can help make the energy transition successful by reducing the variability of renewable sources and thereby encouraging their development, guaranteeing the equilibrium and performance of large grids while promoting the development of distributed systems on the scale of individual neighbourhoods, cities or regions, and smoothing electricity demand at industrial sites to make the overall power system more efficient. Lastly, storage addresses a societal expectation about self-consumption with solutions that combine solar power and batteries. All of this underpinned EDF’s decision last year to launch a new Storage Plan. This plan calls for us to double our R&D budget for batteries and to roll out 10 GW of new storage capacity worldwide, lifting our total to 15 GW. Three key market segments targeted are:
– However, this third energy transition is no longer solely about the production of electricity, which is only one of the three main uses for energy: the building and transport sectors will also have to do their part to promote decarbonisation. A recent McKinsey report on ways to meet the Paris Agreement goals made it clear: reducing carbon emissions by 95% by 2050 will require 63% electrification of transport and buildings. EDF is delivering innovative solutions on both fronts:
This wide range of solutions creates many possibilities for EDF’s customers, and those who manage the regions where we operate, to optimise the performance of their smart homes, smart charging, smart cities, etc.
What all these possibilities have in common is that they will lead to increased energy sobriety and a wider distribution of uses, ultimately giving us better control over our carbon footprint. This will remain a cornerstone of our Group’s low-carbon strategy and of the European Union’s key priorities for many years to come. The energy transition is an opportunity that Europe must seize. As we’ve seen, EDF is willing to do its part alongside institutions, its partners and its customers.
‘’The Commission’s ambition is to provide Europe with a supercomputer by 2022-2023. High Performance Computing (HPC) is a crucial technology. It is necessary to understand and provide effective responses to many scientific and societal challenges such as climate change, better exploitation of renewable energies, ..’’
The digital transition must be a strong ally in meeting climate challenges and dividing our energy consumption by five in the coming decades.
‘’The circular economy is not just waste recycling or achieving goals, but it also concerns air, water, with new jobs, new resources and money that we can leverage for a new economy that never existed.’’
Turn waste into resources
Energy from waste also has its place in the circular economy.
AMORCE is the first French information network, experience sharing and support for communities and other local decision-makers in terms of territory and waste management energy-climate policies.
AMORCE now has more than 860 members and represents 60 million inhabitants. What are its missions?
The association assists its members by organising exchange groups and events, producing publications or providing them with personalised advice. AMORCE also defends the interests of communities and their local partners to the public authorities. It regularly achieves major breakthroughs in this context: reduced VAT on heating networks, the creation of the Heat Fund, the generalisation of climate-energy plans, obligation to renovate energy-intensive housing, strengthening the missions of electricity and gas network operators in terms of energy management and development of renewable energies.
What do you think are the main issues concerning recycling networks in France?
Recycling channels in France have been set up by applying the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), which makes the marketers of a product contribute to its management and recovery. The financial mechanism of the household packaging sector, which represents the most important deposit, has just been adopted. This is very insufficient for local authorities; the financial support paid by the marketers will indeed cover barely 50% of packaging management costs, while the Grenelle law stipulates that they cover 80%.
Communities will see their funding for recycling decrease, even though they must invest in sorting centres to be able to recycle all plastic packaging (not just bottles and flasks) as provided by the transition energy law. The problem is the same for the paper industry, where marketers cover just 10% of the costs for local authorities, despite the fact that the press is now obliged to contribute, notably because of the numerous derogations provided for this sector.
The organisation of the EPR sector of household hazardous waste is also under negotiation and the main challenge is to clarify the financial system and facilitate operational management by no longer forcing communities to distinguish between hazardous waste and household waste (only these are covered by the EPR). For the furniture sector, the main challenge will be to accelerate the operational deployment of the sector and ensure fair coverage of costs for the communities.
In addition, the energy transition law, on AMORCE’s proposal, imposes an obligation for distributors to take back construction waste from professionals to facilitate their collection and recovery, but no system has been put in place while the obligation has been in force since 1 January 2017. The challenge for this sector is, therefore, to mobilise distributors to ensure that professionals benefit from a solution for collecting this waste.
It is high time specific actions were taken in order to speed up the transition towards a circular economy. Such a transition requires the design of products to be more eco-responsible. According to a European Commission study, over 80% of the environmental impact of a product is determined at the design stage1. That is why it is essential to start considering recyclability as a central requirement in the design stage of a product, equally important as the aspect or the performance of the product.
This applies to a great number of products placed on the market, but it is particularly relevant for those products that the European legislation classifies as “energy-related products” (electronic equipment, home appliances…), which have a considerable environmental impact because their production requires a large amount of natural resources (up to 70 kg for a smartphone, according to the French Environment and Energy Management Agency) and their life cycles tend to shorten. The recycling targets for these products (established by the European Union) are increased on a regular basis but without incorporating systematic criteria that facilitate the recycling of these products in parallel.
For many products, basic improvements in the design would greatly improve their recyclability: putting in place reversible fastening methods that do not require specific tools (products of certain brands can only be dismantled using proprietary tools), limiting the use of additives in plastics to make their recycling easier, rethinking the labelling of some of the components, particularly of batteries, so their identification and sorting is easier, etc.
Nevertheless, we observe that progress has been made when it comes to considering certain aspects linked to the circular economy at European level, particularly in the framework of regulatory obligations defined in the Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC): for certain categories of products, the European Commission has recently proposed to apply new ecodesign requirements that make the dismantling and depollution processes of certain products easier. In June 2018, the European Commission also published a roadmap on the European Union’s policies regarding products in the context of the circular economy.
In conclusion, apart from the need to design more recyclable products, it is even more important to guarantee a stable market for recycled materials, and particularly for plastics. In the framework of the European Strategy for Plastics, manufacturing companies are invited before September 2018 to make voluntary pledges to include a certain amount of recycled plastics in their products. Nevertheless, setting a minimum recycled content for products placed in the market would be a much more efficient measure.
1 Ecodesign your future – How ecodesign can help the environment by making products smarter, European Commission, 2012
‘’80% of the environmental impact of an energy-related product is determined at the design stage.’’
Can you introduce APPLiA Europe, its missions, its skills? (In 3 words …)
APPLiA is a Brussels-based trade association that provides a single, consensual voice for the home appliance industry in Europe. APPLiA’s mission is to represent the sector, to unite its diverse members into a single, dynamic, political actor, to shape European policy and to empower policy makers by providing the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.
You recently participated in a debate on the “Eco-design” directive. What is your policy on this topic and what do you recommend?
This is correct. Ecodesign is one of the major topics that APPLiA follows closely.
The tool has proved to be effective because it regulates measurable, verifiable parameters of the product on the basis of a clear and transparent methodology.
The European Commission risks taking this further by proposing ecodesign measures that are planning to phase out a wide range of efficient and affordable products from the market, such as dishwashers.
By leaving only top-class products in shops, the Commission’s proposals could undermine the incentive for some EU citizens to buy a dishwasher and end a lot less efficient alternative – the washing of dishes by hand. The electricity in some eastern EU countries for instance costs one-third less than in Germany or Denmark while the price of the appliances is not that different and in Romania, the cost of a top-range dishwasher can be equal to the monthly salary of a civil servant.
As our #Dishwasher4All campaign points out, today, only 3% of the households in Romania own a dishwasher. The other 97% of the Romanian citizens do not have the opportunity to save ten times less water and dramatically lower their energy bills because they are doing the dishes by hand. We strongly believe that the European Commission will take that into consideration and avoid that new measures create a two-speed Europe and an uneven situation among EU households.
What is more, by limiting the access to automatic dishwashing could cause an adverse effect on fighting climate change and achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.
One last thing that I would like to add on the topic is that legal certainty is crucial and clearly communicated deadlines are essential for the manufacturers to plan and prepare for the transition. It is a must to give manufacturers sufficient time to implement the legal obligation that often require a complete redesign of the products.
You are the initiator of the project “For a circular society” which covers exchanges of good practices in the production, use and recycling of household appliances. what is your role, your initiatives and your objectives for 2020-2030?
I would like to tell you how Circular Society came to live.
Last year, together with our membership, we brainstormed on how to achieve circularity and we started by listing what was already in place. Our manufacturers introduce cutting–edge technologies of today that will redefine the European home of tomorrow, between 2011 and 2015, the sector succeeded in reducing water consumption per product by approximately 30%, while waste generation and energy consumption per product decreased by around 15 %, smart appliances facilitate reparability and maintenance, thanks to remote diagnostics, maintenance advice and failure detections. Our efforts, of course, do not end here and we keep on thinking on how the industry could further improve. And still, we came to the conclusion that some challenges go beyond what a single actor alone could do.
For example, today, 2/3 of the electronic waste is not traced. The value of intrinsic materials to large household appliances makes it beneficial for them to be treated and we need to be able to control all 3/3 of the waste. To ensure proper waste treatment, municipalities need to set up collection points where citizens as you and me can bring their old appliances. The separation of waste in wood-plastic-paper-electronic waste, requires active citizen participation. The treatment of electronic waste requires the direct involvement of producers. The guarantee that everything works regularly, in compliance with community environmental rules, requires supervision by market surveillance authorities. You see very well, every single action count and is interlinked.
This is how we started thinking more and more that we need a Circular Society approach to ensure a circular economy. This one goal embraces all our society and is a societal challenge.
This is our idea for an upgrade to our habits and attitude to the environment. I believe that we all have a brick to add when building a Circular Society and I would like to take the opportunity to invite your readers to share with us what steps do they make towards this big goal. It would be our pleasure to spread the word.
If we could come closer to the Circular Society concept by 2020-2030, myself and APPLiA as a whole would feel as we have contributed to something big.
What are your national and European issues? and what expectations do you expect from the European institutions?
For the small secretariat that we are in Brussels, I have to say that my team manages to cover in detail a large number of major dossiers.
We work on a variety of topics, such as safety of products, everything that is linked to consumers, connectivity, energy efficiency, standardisation and chemical issues.
When it comes to what we expect from the decision makers on European and local level, I would say that this is to produce a smarter and better regulation that help maintain the sector’s competitiveness and unlock our full capacity to contribute to the economy. A clear, consistent policy and infrastructure should go hand in hand with a collaborative process and an on-going dialogue with all interested parties.
On the eve of election, which we can call vital for the future of Europe, what concrete actions will you take? which major topics will you develop? And what message do you want to send to European citizens and consumers?
The next EU term (2019 – 2024) will be crucial for the home appliance sector.
Back in 2015, we launched a long-term vision “Home Appliance 2025” which envisaged three key goals: to advance sustainable lifestyles, to help Europeans live the Connected home and to accelerate Europe’s growth. The new EU constellation will have a big role to play in supporting us to achieve those goals that will benefit all Europeans. But this is my message to the policy makers.
When it comes to the consumers, I would like to ask them two things – to help us come closer to a Circular Society by choosing more sustainable products and to embrace innovative technologies which would not only bring them comfort, but also be a great gesture to the environment.
What are your challenges in the coming years?
The upcoming challenges are not one or two.
The new energy label will be a reality soon. What is now crucial for the European citizens and for the Energy Union to be successful is to introduce a label that continues to promote the progress achieved in energy efficiency and to foster cost-efficient innovations. Communication about the revised energy label is, in fact, one of the key challenges now.
Each rescaling creates the potential for confusion among consumers and market surveillance authorities. In one hand, the European consumers might find themselves in a difficult situation when buying a new appliance as due to the revision, many resource efficient products that were on the top of the scale will be in the lower classes. To make sure that such misunderstandings are minimized as much as possible, future communication campaigns run by the EU and the Member States must make clear that it is the label that has been rescaled and not that the product has become less efficient.
Undoubtedly, the topics we already went through, such as the implementation of the Ecodesign directive and circularity, will remain issues we will keep on working.
Last but not least, I would like to underline the importance of introducing data protection legal framework for the EU in a way that the home appliance sector would still be able to offer innovative products. We stand ready to support the EU institutions in their efforts to produce a more coherent outcome for the data law.
‘’Circularity of materials cannot be achieved without looking at the angle of the chemicals.’’
‘’France can become the spearhead of the circular economy to the new European and world: “The urgency for humanity is to become aware of the scarcity. …. The roadmap for a circular economy, which is a first step, must lead France towards a new model of society.”
‘’European plastic strategy, towards a sustainable economy ‘’
‘’the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on our beaches outright ban, … For others, the collection must drastically improve.’’
A framework directive aims to protect and restore the quality of Europe’s waters and to ensure their long-term sustainable use. Explanations …
Can you remind us are the main objectives of the European Framework Directive (WFD) on water, published in 2000?
This Framework Directive (formally entitled “Directive 2000/60 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing Community policy in the field of water”) aims to protect and restore the quality of Europe’s waters and to ensure their long-term sustainable use.
It establishes Community water policy and an innovative approach to water management based on watersheds and natural geographical and hydrological units. It lays down specific deadlines for Member States to respect for the protection of aquatic ecosystems. The Directive covers inland surface waters, transitional waters, coastal waters and groundwater. It sets out several broad principles, including public participation in planning and the integration of economic approaches, including the recovery of costs associated with water use services.
What assessment can be made of the implementation of this WFD in France, from the point of view of the improvements observed, but also the costs of intervention and treatment?
The Commission communicated in 2012 and 2015 its assessment of the implementation of the first cycle of the WFD in France and in the other Member States. It raised the existence of certain deficiencies in the French River Basin Management Plans with regard to the assessment of the state of the waters. Measurement programs should significantly improve the ecological status of natural surface water bodies, as well as artificial and highly modified water bodies. Diffuse pollution from agriculture is the most widespread significant pressure on water bodies. This leads to eutrophication and increased costs for water treatment.
In France, the current system of water billing and taxation of fertilisers and pesticides can be strengthened to improve agricultural practices. In order to combat nutrient pollution (nitrogen and phosphorus) more effectively, stronger measures should be taken to take account of impacts on river basins and to ensure coherence of actions under the EU Water Framework Directive, the nitrates directive and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). In the case of pesticides, the concentrations measured in the country are generally low. However, pesticides are present in a large number of aquatic ecosystems. Some progress has been made in combating nitrate pollution from agricultural sources and against eutrophication, but nutrient pollution remains a problem, especially in intensive and intensive farming areas.
It was recommended that France use feedback from the first river basin management plan and programs of measures to improve efficiency in the second cycle. The Commission is currently updating the evaluation of this second cycle.
Preserve the French model of water and guard against emerging risks: ambitious objectives that mobilise all stakeholders …
How do you analyse the challenges of innovation and ICT for the water sector?
Innovations, particularly information and communication technology (ICT), meet a dual challenge: to preserve the French model of water and to guard against emerging risks.
Preserving our French model means continuing to provide all our citizens with quality water at a reasonable price for the consumer. The challenge is daunting, at a time when more than 25% consumed is lost. Faced with this situation, companies in the sector are developing new technologies: diagnostic methods that can better anticipate leaks targeted renewal and therefore less expensive.
Innovations are also needed to guard against emerging risks. Faced with climate change and the extreme episodes it generates, the sector is constantly innovating to improve rainwater management (rainwater recovery, storage / return, treatment), but also by being able to produce energy (biogas). The sector also has concrete answers to be given in the fight against micropollutants to protect aquatic environments or the reuse of treated wastewater in order to optimise the management of our resources.
How does the Union of Water Manufacturers intervene to promote dialogue between the main decision-makers in this field?
Once a year, the IPA organises a symposium entitled “water issues”. Intended to raise the awareness of decision-makers, as well as a large public, this symposium is most often held in April and each year it addresses an important theme. The UIE’s annual conference is a place of exchanges, meetings and proposals. The 2018 edition, which will be held exceptionally on October 10, will focus on the heritage of water.
In partnership with the Mayors of France and the French Agency for Biodiversity (AFB), the UIE also initiated Aquaplus, the only sustainable development approach in this area. Distinguishing both companies and local authorities, the Aquaplus label is a guarantee of responsibility for those who receive it and greatly promotes dialogue between public and private actors.
In addition, the UIE and its member companies are present at the main exhibitions that punctuate the life of our federation: Pollutec in Lyon, once every two years, the Carrefours Local Water Management in Rennes, but even more as the foundation of non-collective sanitation. Finally, the UIE publishes Eau Magazine, with two issues per year. It is the review of actors and decision-makers, governments, communities, industry and users.
And to conclude with?
New technologies are extremely useful, but they must also be accompanied by a real reinvestment effort in our water heritage to maintain and improve it: I am thinking of course of the pipelines, but also of the treatment stations, civil engineering structures and stormwater management works that need to be developed.
‘’Greening transportation policies by rail, road, waterway, air, a key climatic, social and environmental sector ‘’
Achieving a carbon-free economy by 2050: Parliament’s strong commitment to energy.
Contributing to more sustainable cities
The last mile delivery market is growing and is expected to continue to grow exponentially: e-shopping is exploding; in 2017, 57% of the European population was identified as e-shoppers . Among them, heavy shoppers make an average of 45 online purchases per year (around one per week), while in the UK, the most mature market in Europe, they make 82 online purchases per year. Looking for goods not available in their country, or for better deals, more than 50% of them have already bought from a foreign website, especially from the UK, and increasingly from China .
As a consequence, by 2025, the total parcel volume delivered to individuals will have doubled in Europe: almost 15 billion parcels per year will be delivered, mainly in cities. At the same time, cities are implementing a growing number of initiatives to drastically reduce congestion and pollution.
From this perspective, the challenge for a delivery company such as DPDgroup is to contribute to more sustainable cities: permanently innovate to provide a better and smarter delivery service to customers, optimize city center delivery processes, and develop ever more agile urban delivery vehicles.
DPDgroup’ urban logistics initiatives aim at improving everyday urban life by giving customers greater delivery choices, while reducing the impact on the environment.
The way DPDgroup would like to tackle urban logistics with local authorities would be to work together to rethink pragmatically urban mobility, improve transport efficiency incrementally and allow dynamic business life in city centers.
There is no “one size fits all” solution, as each city has different geography, capacity, strategic objectives and needs: innovative solutions and regulation, need to be adapted to each case.
DPDgroup is attentive to the needs of each city and gear its offering of micro-depots and alternative fleet accordingly. Implementation of micro-depots and urban depots close to high-density areas. Alternative, low-emission delivery fleet that relies on natural gas, electric vehicles, cycles, and walking. Measurement of the impact of the conventional fleet, reduction of the CO2 footprint and offsetting of the remaining emissions through dedicated offsetting programmes
Our objective is to make every parcel being delivered carbon neutral, at no extra cost to its customers. Between 2013-2017, the CO2 footprint was reduced by 16% on parcel deliveries.
Thanks to a comprehensive digitalization, last mile delivery in 10 to 20 years will be fully flexible and personalized. By using digital interfaces, consignees will have access to various delivery options – the doorstep being one of many possibilities, while alternative delivery options will be far more numerous and frequent than today.
Future delivery fleet will consist of a vast range of alternative vehicles: trucks, vans, cargo bikes, e-scooters, completed with rolling and flying autonomous vehicles.
This being said, DPDgroup is always trying to keep one step ahead, and in this prospect, developed a partnership with Groupe Renault in order to lay the groundwork for the future of last mile delivery; by creating new delivery scenarios with the concept car EZ-PRO, a fully autonomous and electric vehicle.
This project is part of DPDgroup innovation & CSR programmes, which ease the daily work of the drivers and meet the expectations of citizens as well as public authorities regarding smart cities.
DPDgroup is strongly in favour of smart urban mobility plans, which are key to make the cities more sustainable in the future. Transition to a more sustainable operating mode can be driven by enhanced R&D plans, low-emissions fleet and microdistribution sites that reduce the last mile distance and allow same-day delivery.
DPDgroup is the second largest international parcel delivery network in Europe. DPDgroup combines innovative technology and local knowledge to provide a flexible and user-friendly service for both shippers and shoppers. With its industry-leading Predict service, DPDgroup is setting a new standard for convenience by keeping customers closely in touch with their delivery.
With more than 68,000 delivery experts and a network of more than 32,000 local Pickup points, DPDgroup delivers 4.8 million parcels to over 230 countries each day through the brands DPD, Chronopost, SEUR and BRT.
DPDgroup is the parcel delivery network of GeoPost, which posted sales of €6.8 billion in 2017. GeoPost is a holding company owned by Le Groupe La Poste.
SNCF is known to almost everyone but its business lines are not always fully grasped. The well-known business lines are related to rail infrastructure and the transportation of passengers and goods by railway. The business lines related to engineering, station management, logistics and road transport are not always publicized. SNCF is present in more than 120 countries, particularly through its subsidiaries. One third of the turnover is being realized internationally.
More than 50,000 employees work in these business lines and ensure that shippers, mainly producers of consumer goods, are provided with transportation and logistics from point A to point B whatever their position is worldwide. The objective is to ensure the safe transport of goods by meeting the requirements of the just-in-time, all the while providing the choice of the most deserving modes according to the possibilities of each segment. The freight forwarding business line continues to meet all the requests of freight transportation worldwide. Logistics makes it possible to process the segments of the economy with the required expectations and with all due haste.
The presence in Europe under the Captrain brand ensures the transport of goods by railway on all trans-European transport networks.
The carbon footprint of all flows is provided to our customers so as to respect the law and the requirements of the countries crossed but above all to mark the importance of these business lines with regard to the environment.
We mainly note the carbon impact of the business lines and the flows but we also know how to use the best means to limit the production of nitrogen dioxide and fine particles whose health impact is known. The company’s social and societal responsibility depends, among other things, on these factors. The combined transport activity which, as the name suggests combines at least two modes of transport, also limits the environmental impact of the flow of goods.
SNCF also wanted to develop rail motorways; they make it possible to carry heavy-duty trailers on trains, mainly on long journeys, and provide customers with savings of one tonne of CO2 per vehicle for distances of 1,000 km at competitive rates.
The digital freight train is an innovation that commits the rail freight transport business to a major evolution ensuring traceability for customers and the assurance of knowing the arrival times of goods. These connected trains will also provide a multitude of customer services and will enable maintenance optimisation.
There are many innovations in this sector to respond to the expectations of shippers and to make transport always have a lower impact on the environment.
SNCF is committed to impregnating a sustainable development policy in all business lines across all its sites and with each activity.
This policy is proposed to the competent authorities but also to each of the group’s customers.
For example, a hybrid prototype of a regional express train (RET) is now being prepared to go over the entire network, including the non-electrified parts with the help of batteries, which further reduces pollutant emissions and CO2.
The entire chain of businesses, which brings forth 15,000 trains a day in France, is ensured with extreme vigilance on environmental issues without neglecting the number one priority of safety.
The training of drivers in eco-driving, whatever the vehicles, can significantly reduce energy consumption and therefore the environmental impact.
SNCF goes as far as the recycling of used work clothes: this is part of the group’s indispensable requirement which is committed to a green purchasing policy.
SNCF is a member of Airparif, an organization that measures air quality in the Île-de-France region with a recognized excellence throughout the world.
Ensuring a continuous monitoring in this sector is essential to the SNCF global group.
SNCF puts the client, who is a citizen, at the heart of its thoughts and actions. Ensuring the safe transport of passengers with an on-time arrival is always an objective for employees working in the public rail group.
Whole teams are dedicated to auditing and regulating the hazards of the railway world so that we can always be a global reference in our business. In France the renovation of the existing network is a priority. The reversal of the trend today allows emphasizing the mobilities of everyday life. They are a priority.
Offering trips for all with OUIGO and at the same time ensuring quality and adapted services with TGV inOUI on high-speed rail are incomparable assets.
Accessibility to station and train services is a constant feature of the group’s work. The development of Wi-Fi on TER and, this year, on a first Intercity route will allow massive development of the essential connection of every citizen in motion. The personal mobility assistant that SNCF is developing will allow it to assemble the offers of several mobility service operators and to obtain a ticket on the same application in a door-to-door logic.
European transport is driving players to be more virtuous and to offer services that are better adapted to our fellow citizens while preserving the general interest of the environment. We are committed on all fronts for the well-being of our client-citizens. Europe and its territories are a space in which we must provide transport excellence for travellers and goods.
Mr. Eduardo Santander Executive Director, ETC
Multilingual executive. Educated in Spain, USA and Austria Mr. Santander holds a PhD and a MBA degree. He has broad experience in tourism marketing, advocacy and public affairs gained in diverse private companies and public institutions from the tourism and hospitality sector. He is also guest lecturer on tourism marketing at international business seminars in a number of US and European Universities. He’s a frequent speaker in Tourism, Hospitality Industry and Destination Marketing forums and a passionate panellist.
Multilingual executive. Educated in Spain, USA and Austria Mr. Santander holds a PhD and a MBA degree. He has broad experience in tourism marketing, advocacy and public affairs gained in diverse private companies and public institutions from the tourism and hospitality sector. He is also guest lecturer on tourism marketing at international business seminars in a number of US and European Universities. He’s a frequent speaker in Tourism, Hospitality Industry and Destination Marketing forums and a passionate panellist.
It is widely recognized that Europe is the world’s number 1 tourist destination. Last year painted a promising future considering that Europe reached another record of international tourist arrival, resulting in a positive increase on previous year’s performance.
Factors that contributed to this positive development include the recovery of major source markets, marketing efforts in promoting travel outside the main season as well as themed promotional activities.
Furthermore, the future of the tourism sector appears prosperous as international tourist arrivals to Europe are believed to accumulate to 745 million by 2030. However, the European tourism industry is facing increasing global competition from emerging destinations that are attracting a significant number of tourists.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that especially destinations in Asia and the Pacific will benefit from the expansion of intra-regional travel and will gain most of the new arrivals in 2030. Consequently, North-East Asia will replace Southern and Mediterranean Europe as the most visited sub-region in 2030.
In order to remain the world’s first tourist destination, Europe must respond to the shifting patterns in global tourism and capitalize on the potential of tomorrow’s outbound travel markets. Their expanding middle classes are a growing market for European destinations, whose stakeholders need to ensure the development of a sustainable tourism sector.
Since the emergence of the term in the 1980s, sustainable tourism development is understood to encompass not only the region’s lasting economic benefits but also stakeholders’ responsibilities linked to the socio-cultural and natural environment which both form the basis of Europe’s unique tourism offer.
Sustainability in tourism should be considered in three different but interconnected dimensions:
1) Economic impact
Tourism in Europe is often discussed in terms of its beneficial economic impact. Tourism has proofed to be one of the few resilient sectors in the fragile economies of Europe during years of economic downturn.
The tourism industry generates (directly and indirectly) 10.2% of total EU-28 GDP, a figure which is forecasted to rise to 11.2% of GDP by 2027.
To be more specific: the sector’s total contribution to GDP is greater than the impact of Europe’s mining, chemical manufacturing, higher education, and automotive manufacturing sectors and represents one of the leading employers in the region.
Tourism is an important driver of economic and social development. The sector stimulates economic growth by generating income, employment and investment in Europe, and through its exports to origin markets worldwide. It helps to sustain our cultural and natural heritage, provides revenue to fund facilities and infrastructure enjoyed by visitors and residents, and promotes an awareness of a common European identity and citizenship distinguished by its diversity.
Apart from the direct contribution to the regions’ economy through the influx of revenues from tourism services, tourism produces a spill-over effect that benefits the recognition of Europe’s unique cultural and natural heritage. Tourism can assist local communities in developing a cultural and/or natural tourism product that opens new sources of revenue and employment. Furthermore, the public attention that follows in its wake may result in increased public and private investment as well as in the development of a shared responsibility to preserve assets for the benefit of the local community and future generations.
2) Socio-cultural impact
While fostering and harvesting the benefits of tourism’s economic impact, European tourism also needs to be a socially responsible industry that is accessible to all people regardless of their background. In this context, I would like to specifically mention three groups:
In tandem with making European tourism more welcoming to specific visitor segments, the social dimension of sustainable tourism also advocates for safeguarding the socio-cultural authenticity of the host community, which by no means should be neglected in product and service development.
3) Environment impact
Safeguarding Europe’s position as the world’s number 1 tourist destination also means preserving the region’s authentic natural character and acting responsibly towards its population.
There is no doubt that tourism, in particular mass tourism, places a strain on the region’s natural resources, creates pollution and impacts the physical environment through construction activities and tourist trampling. The development of alternative forms to mass tourism is therefore essential, demanding investment in and promotion of ecologically respectful products and practices.
However, the sustainable development of tourism in Europe is inhibited by three major factors:
Taking these facts into consideration, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) specifies that essentially, the sustainable development of tourism shall incorporate four essential goals:
What is the contribution of the European Travel Commission (ETC) to sustain European tourism’s competitiveness?
At the core of ETC’s strategy are the stimulation of competitiveness and the promotion of sustainable growth of the European tourism sector by raising awareness for ‘Destination Europe’ in long-haul markets.
Europe must take advantage of its tourism offerings and enforce its market shares in both emerging and established markets.
This means that in all efforts, Europe must align its market mix and identify underserved segments (e.g. senior tourism, LGBTQ, etc.) and further expand its understanding of pan-European product development. Through the promotion of transnational experiences, the European Travel Commission particularly seeks to raise visibility for the plethora of products available while creating awareness for the region’s diversity. An essential pillar to achieve the sustainable growth of European tourism are public-private partnerships (PPPs) following a focused approach with common and achievable goals.
ETC’s long-term strategy focuses on developing PPPs for European tourism promotion and raising awareness for pan-European, transnational thematic tourism products and experiences (such as cultural routes, heritage) that shall inspire and be tailored to different markets, passions groups and traveller segments.
To summarize what it has been outlined before, ETC firmly believes that four of the most important things to support the sustainable growth of the European tourism sector are:
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