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16 October 2015
UFE’s symposium 2015: Let’s join forces for a low carbon and digital electrictity
The annual UFE Conference, held in Paris the last 8th of October, put economic growth and innovation at the core of its agenda. Two months before the COP21, the meeting gathered numerous high-level speakers for a joint commitment to build the power system of tomorrow: a carbon-free and digitalized system that ensures competitive and safe electricity supply for all.
As Minister Segolène Royal recalled during her opening speech, the 21th century inaugurates a « post-oil era». It is indeed the century of global awareness about climate change and its consequences, where decarbonisation represents a major challenge.
With a largely decarbonised energy mix, thanks to its hydro-nuclear facilities, France is already one step ahead. It is nonetheless essential to go further in order to maintain this advantage, by turning the electricity industry of tomorrow into a key for the development of a “low-carbon industry”, as advocated by Minister Laurent Fabius in his video-message, early in the afternoon.
All committed: from territories…
In order to address this challenge, it is fundamental to involve every geographical levels. Thanks to the new statutory prerogatives given to them by the French Energy Transition law, and considering their role in the integration of distributed energy resources, territories are fundamental actors. Besides, the debates brought to light a huge variety of on-going experimentations. Christophe de MAISTRE, President of SIEMENS France, underlined the incredible reindustrialization potential for territories thanks to the industry of the future, the famous “industry 4.0”, combining the “electricity-digitalisation-innovation” revolution. Other innovations are already experimented and implemented, as for the control of the “Grand Paris Express railroad network” to achieve substantial energy savings, or the deployment of the most important Smart Grids demonstrator in the Vendée region. In this new balance, it was also recalled that system operators are essential partners, not only as facilitators for the integration of new renewable energies and energy storage technologies, but also as guarantor of the solidarity among all users, consumers, producers or auto-producers.
… to the European level
Furthermore, the presence and statements of Maros SEFCOVIC, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Energy Union, and MEP Dominique RIQUET are symptomatic of the commitment of the European Union to make electricity the energy of innovation, and of a low-carbon economy. Beyond the ambitious targets the European Union adopted in terms of CO2 emissions, RES or energy efficiency, the discussions focused on the need to implement efficient tools to reach those targets: reforming urgently the ETS mechanism to reduce our CO2 emissions in the most cost-efficient way, even establishing a CO2 floor-price for power sector as proposed by Ségolène ROYAL, and building a new electricity market design to address the concerns around European security of supply. On the latter, the results of the joint UFE-BDEW study illustrate the benefits of a European cooperation to ensure a performing and safe electricity system.
Industrial cooperation for the benefit of consumers
Electricity is at the heart of the new digital economy and, thanks to the excellence of its electricity sector, France has already all the advantages to take profit from the innovations and build a smarter electricity value-chain: a recognized technical expertise, big and small manufacturers, a decarbonized and reliable electric system. However, as several participants underlined, only a “win-win” approach between large companies and SMEs will unlock the opportunities that the digital transformation offers. Moreover, as stressed by Jean-Bernard LEVY, France should inspire itself from examples such as GOOGLE, capitalising from the inventive turmoil of start-ups to develop innovations in an interesting partnership-based approach.
The closing debate between Jean-Bernard LEVY, CEO and Chairman of EDF, and Nick LEEDER, Managing Director of GOOGLE France, was particularly revealing in this sense: the capacity of a company to further innovate is essential, especially in order to respond to consumers’ expectations, with new services that enable better consumption and greater comfort. Indeed, managing directly the relation with the client will precisely be the core of tomorrow competition challenges among the actors.
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The Union of the French Electricity Industry is the trade association of the French electricity sector. We bring together companies from the whole value chain of the electricity industry.Find out more
Events of the sector
Our 2023 annual conference
2023 annual conference of the Union of the French Electricity Industry
The 12th edition of the UFE annual conference has been held on 8th June 2023, in Paris.Watch the replay on YouTube