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28 May 2018

When the French Low-Carbon Strategy (SNCB) sets energy policies in the long-term


Though the review of the French Low-Carbon Strategy (SNCB) is still ongoing, a first observation can already be made: in a carbon-neutral economy, electricity will play an important part among the range of solutions.

The French Low-Carbon Strategy aims for carbon-neutrality by 2050 in France and focuses on distributing ‘carbon budgets’ among major industrial sectors for the next 15 years. The ongoing discussions show that this objective can be achieved only under two conditions: on the one hand, progress in terms of energy efficiency and sobriety leading to an energy consumption reduced to at least twice less than today, and on the other hand, the complete decarbonisation of electricity generation. This second condition requires the exclusive use of energies from biomass (liquid, solid or gaseous), renewable heat and electricity. Given the sources of each of these different energies, the consumption of electricity would slightly raise in absolute value compared to today and would represent almost 50% of the total energy consumption, as energy efficiency and sobriety would almost compensate this electrification.

This strategic vision is very close to UFE’s proposals. Indeed, for several years, we have recommended combining energy efficiency, in order to consume less, and climate efficiency by substituting as much as possible the most greenhouse gas emitting energies by carbon-free energies. In its 2016 and 2017 studies, UFE demonstrated that this dual approach is the one making it possible to achieve France’s climate ambitions in the most cost- and job-efficient way.

The Multiannual Energy Programming (PPE) must take into account these long-term perspectives

This is why, for the PPE and its 10-year horizon, these long-term perspectives should lead us to be cautious while considering only scenarios where electricity consumption would decrease. Indeed, it is clear that CO2 emissions are rising again in France [[]]. Public authorities should thus find solutions to put France back on its carbon-neutrality trajectory by 2050. This could lead to a moderate increase in the consumption of decarbonized electricity as part of an ambitious and effective energy and climate policy.

The decarbonisation of our economy in the mid and long-term remains a challenge that we must all face. It is clear that, among the solutions to manage this challenge, electricity will play a key role; not to mention that, by being produced on the national territory, this energy source also presents both economic and social advantages for France.

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