On November 20th, Prime Minister Edouard PHILIPPE presented the government’s ambition for the industry. A new impetus has been given to the National Industrial Council (CNI) to implement an industrial policy oriented towards innovation and moving upmarket. These two issues are particularly important for the energy sector.
The CNI was created in 2013 in order to advise public authorities and make recommendations, in order to improve the competitiveness of the French industry, strengthen some specific sectors and develop employment and associated skills. It coordinates actions plans for the 14 different sectors identified as important for the French industry, some of which are directly related to the energy transition (automotive, rail, nuclear, eco-industry, digital…)
An audit on the definition of the relevant sectors and their scope will be carried out over the next three months, involving all the stakeholders. A new list of sectors will then be submitted so that the sectors can play a stronger role and actively contribute to the priorities assigned to CNI.
Renewables, mobility… energy is at the core of CNI’s priorities
The roadmap established for the next 12 months illustrates the importance of the implications of the energy transition for the French industry. Autonomous vehicles, batteries, railways and renewable energies are among the sectoral priorities that have been announced. As for the cross-cutting priorities, there is a willingness to contribute to the 2018 debate on the Pluriannual environmental planning, on the European industrial policy – with questions about a carbon-inclusion mechanism at the borders of the European Union – on regulatory simplification, circular economy and security of supply of raw materials.
Valuing the French production, promoting innovation and supporting skills development
The work programme presented by the Prime Minister thus sets out an industrial policy aiming at addressing three major challenges:
• The transformation of the industry, through the digital transition and integration of sustainable development issues, and the regrouping of the French export production under the label "French Fab";
• Strengthening innovation potential, with the pursuing of the “credit impôt recherche” (tax credit for research) and the Investment Plan unveiled on September 25th;
• The evolution of skills to match the evolution of jobs and technologies, with the upgrade of initial education and professional training.
At the core of these challenges, stakeholders of the electricity sector are particularly involved. The Annual Conference of UFE, which was held on December 5th in Paris with the opening speech of the Secretary of State Brune POIRSON and many other figures throughout the day, was organised around two major topics at the crossroads of these issues:
• The practical implementation of the energy transition and the means to be deployed to make it an industrial, technological, economic and social success for our country;
• And innovation as a lever for creation of value in a rapidly changing energy sector and electrical system.