26 May 2021 - Stakeholder national workshops

European National Stakeholder Workshop Series: The case of France

The PARIS REINFORCE project held a national stakeholder workshop in France, on May 26, 2021. After a presentation of the project and its first modelling results, we discussed key technologies for deep decarbonisation of the French economy with national stakeholders, including electricity (renewables, smart grids, and uses), hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), which three French experts were invited to introduce. The discussions were held in French.

The workshop kicked off with a very brief overview of the project (sole part of the workshop in English), delivered by the Project Coordinator, Prof. Haris Doukas of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). This opening session highlighted the core of the project and its objectives, mainly orienting on modelling work, as well as co-creation and transparency. It was followed by an introduction of the goals of the workshop by Prof. Paul Zagamé from SEURECO (Société Européenne d'Economie).

Next, modelling work completed or currently carried out for EU mitigation was presented by Dr. Baptiste Boitier from SEURECO, who framed this presentation around the I2AM PARIS platform, showcasing its capabilities live, and explaining our expectations from the platform until the end of the project and afterwards. The presentation then explored where current emissions and various socioeconomic indicators in the Union are headed, implied by its current policies projected forward to 2050.

The first topics discussed, on “the challenges of electricity: renewables, smart grids, and uses”, was introduced by Alain Burtin, Director of Research and Development at Electricité De France (EDF). He explored the French context in terms of climate ambition, routes to decarbonising the French economy (energy substitution, decarbonisation of energy carriers, and energy efficiency), and the potential of electricity to support emissions mitigation in the country. Alain Burtin continued with the evolution requirements for the European and French electrical systems to support growth and the necessity to deliver carbon-free electricity, emphasising the role of smart grids. Following discussions questioned the role of electricity in the transport sector as well as the alternatives to electricity in long-distance transport (trucks, aviation, and maritime).

The second topic, “hydrogen, between myth and reality”, was introduced by Jean-Eudes Moncomble, Secretary General of the Conseil Française de L’Energie (CFE), the French branch of the World Energy Council (WEC). The WEC’s work on establishing and comparing the current situation of national hydrogen strategies around the World was presented, and the objectives of these strategies were explored. Jean-Eudes Moncomble continued with the potential hydrogen needs by sector, the production technologies, and their costs including transport. He also pointed out the key questions about the future of hydrogen in Europe (domestic production vs. imports, investment and infrastructure requirements, and the need for intra-EU and international cooperation). The follow-up discussion underlined the importance of flexibility and the need of geographically detailed modelling exercises as well as of non-conventional storage associated with the question of the availability of critical materials.

The last topic, “CO2 capture and storage: more than a false good idea from "fossil" energy companies?”, was introduced by Dominique Copin, an independent expert, recently retired from the company Total, for which he assessed the potential contribution of CCUS for climate change mitigation and its possible impact on the future of the oil and gas industries. Dominique Copin started by explaining the role of CCS in climate change mitigation and pointed out that the technology is already mature. He emphasised the difficulties for some industrial sectors to fully decarbonise their production (electricity, cement, or steel) and argued that CCUS has a role to play in these sectors. Dominique Copin concluded with existing obstacles to significant deployment of CCUS (supporting fossil industries, high costs, related risks, and storage potential). Discussions in this session focused on the importance of CCUS, or lack thereof in currently deployed decarbonisation pathways, and geological aspects of considerable CCUS deployment across the globe.

Finally, Prof. Paul Zagamé concluded the workshop by thanking all speakers, stakeholders attending the workshop, and the Conseil Français de l’Energie for its support in this event.



Haris Doukas & Paul Zagame - Introduction

Baptiste Boitier - The platform & work done so far