LES ANNALES DES MINES
FOR OUR ENGLISH-SPEAKING READERS Août 2004
|Energy in France
and the world
Proposals for an energy policy turned toward 2050
The conditions for producing and consuming energy will undergo major change owing to new environmental, geopolitical and economic restrictions. This foreseeable upheaval forces us to lay down strategic lines for dividing by three our emission of greenhouse gases by 2050. Three main uses of energy should come under close scrutiny: heating, transportation and the production of electricity.
The security of the western European supply of electricity in 2004
After the incidents that marked 2003,
parties in this sector must, together, foster an organization for guaranteeing
the long-term security of our electricity supply. This is a key element
in Europe’s collective security. Since its creation in 2000, the Réseau
de Transport d’Électricité (RTÉ) oversees, in France,
both the development of the grid for transporting electricity and the management
of the flow of current through this network. The following two points are
keys to the future: the managers of these interconnected transportation
grids must be independent from other parties in this sector, and they must
be given the means to assume their role.
Advances in controlled thermonuclear fusion in Europe
The nuclear fission of hydrogen yields
a million times more energy than its chemical combustion; but it is much
harder to control. ITER, a project that has arisen out of international
cooperation, has the goal of controlling this fission so as to take a giant
step toward a reactor for generating electricity. The decision to build
one is pending. The site for the plant is yet to be selected: why not Cadarache
replenishable energy sources in new, competitive electricity markets
Dominique Finon and Philippe Ménanteau
Since the mid-1980s in many European countries, renewable sources of energy have been highly touted for producing electricity. These efforts must be adjusted to the opening of electricity markets to competition. The means used till now (in particular guaranteed purchase prices) have been criticized for being costly and not being adapted to a competitive environment. EU directive 2001/77/C encourages member states to stimulate the growth of renewable energy. It also provides for assessing the convergence toward a system of quotas and of tradeable emission permits, a system that does not necessarily have all the qualities claimed for it.
Automakers using hydrogen
A worldwide consensus has
emerged that hydrogen and fuel cells are “the” solution, in the context
of sustainable development, to the quest for an alternative to petroleum.
Very simply put, the automobile of the future will be electric-powered.
Automakers represent the industry most involved in research on fuel cells
and hydrogen as a source of energy; but other applications are also under
study. This technology could become competitive on the automobile market
by about 2015.
The duties of public service in relation to cogeneration and renewable energy sources
Patricia de Suzzoni
In France, the costs of programs for cogeneration and renewable energy are ultimately paid by consumers via mechanisms based on bids, the obligation to purchase at a guaranteed price, and a CRE evaluation. The suggestion is made to test in France tradeable emission permits before creating a European market.
Facts and figures in 2003