French Member Committee

Conseil Français de l'Energie

The French Council of Energy is the World Energy Council French National Committee. Its members are leading French companies, organizations, institutions and associations with an interest in scientific, technical and industrial participation in global energy issues. It represents its members in all international activities of the World Energy Council, in particular during the preparation of the World Energy Congress. The Council considers all matters relating to the provision and use of sustainable energy useful to the activity of the World Energy Council, and monitors and promotes research related to these questions.

Jean-Bernard Lévy was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EDF Group on November 26th, 2014.

From December 2012 to November 2014 he was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Thales, a leading electronics and systems industrial group.

From 2002 to 2012, he was at Vivendi, a global communications and digital media company, based in Paris. He was Chief Operating Officer of Vivendi from 2002 to 2005, and CEO from 2005 to 2012.

From 1998 to 2002 he was Managing Partner, Corporate Finance at Oddo & Cie.

From 1995 to 1998 he was Chairman and CEO of Matra Communication.

Jean-Bernard Lévy was General Manager, Communications satellites of Matra Espace and then Matra Marconi Space from 1988 until 1993, when he became Chief of Staff to Gérard Longuet, the French Minister for Industry, Postal Services & Telecommunications and Foreign Trade.

From 1986 to 1988, he was Advisor to Gérard Longuet, the French Minister for Postal and Telecommunications Services.

Jean-Bernard Lévy began his career in 1979 with France Telecom as an engineer in Angers. In 1982, he became responsible for the management of senior staff and budgets, and was later promoted to deputy head of Human Resources.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, 62, is married with four children. He is a graduate of the École Polytechnique (1973) and Télécom ParisTech. He is an officer of the Légion d’Honneur and of the Ordre National du Mérite.

Jean-Eudes Moncomble

Energy in France 

france, critical uncertainties, action priorities

In the last weeks of 2018, France was shaken by the movement of the « gilets jaunes » (yellow jackets). The survey which feeds into this 2019 Issues Monitor was conducted before the protests began, and it is tempting to look for early signs of this unprecedented movement. It will also be interesting to see in the next survey if this movement caused significant changes in the appreciation of certain issues. It is interesting to note that protests began in November as a revolt against a fuel tax decided as part of France’s climate policy. That is at the intersection of two causes of insomnia that are detailed below: climate change and prices. One of the consequences of this movement is the decision taken by the President of the Republic to organize a major national debate where the green transition will be one of the four themes. 

The issue that keeps French actors awake at night is climate change. The sensitivity of French energy leaders is high and their commitment undeniable. This issue, which was popularized in France by COP21 and the Paris Agreement, is now shared by the clear majority of stakeholders; it is one of the fundamentals of policies, particularly energy policies, and can be found as a guideline for multi-year energy programming, published at the end of 2018 by the government. Nevertheless, the events of the end of the year - the yellow jackets - show the difficulty of implementing these policies.

The importance given to the price of commodities and the price of electricity conveys a similar message. The choices associated with the Energy Transition and their economic relevance are the subject of much discussion: the cost of the Energy Transition is at the heart of debates and this is reflected in the importance given by many to the consequences on household purchasing power and business competitiveness with a central upcoming debate about burden sharing.

The third issue to be distinguished, among those that cause insomnia, is the question of Europe. The year 2019 is an important year for Europe, as the European Parliament elections will take place in May. Even if this movement is weaker than in other European countries, there is undoubtedly a rise of several political parties critical of the European Union as it appears today. European cohesion has been shaken several times and Brexit only exacerbates this trend. Many of the energy issues are located at European level and this justifies the importance given to this issue.

Finally, three technologies are located in this same part of the graph: 1) electricity storage, which refers to the deployment of electric vehicles and, to a lesser extent, to the penetration of variable renewable energies; 2) nuclear energy, which is specific in France and which, while remaining a major asset in the fight against climate change, does not find consensus about the level of its participation in the electricity mix, and 3) urbanisation, as this issue concentrates a large number of major concerns (energy efficiency of buildings, sustainable mobility, etc.).

In the area of action, one issue holds a special place, far to the right and at the bottom: China Growth, which is therefore a high-impact issue but without uncertainty. It is true that beyond the consequences directly related to its size, China’s choices are sometimes decisive on the energy directions of other countries, as shown by the deployment of technologies supported by this country.

In the same area of the map, energy efficiency now appears to be an area in which we have moved on to the time of action and implementation of energy policies. In France, this mainly concerns housing and transport, even if all sectors are concerned by this effort.

It is also very interesting to look at issues that have opposing positions; thus, the three most uncertain and long-term issues are three technologies: hydrogen, biofuels (two low-impact issues) and carbon capture and storage (associated with medium impact). It is interesting to note that these three technologies are, for some actors, key technologies in the Energy Transition. 

The evolution of the issues assessment is also very interesting and can be done by comparing the raw data relating to two successive surveys: the published one and the one of the previous year. The first message, deduced from the superposition of the two graphs, is that, “on average”, the clouds are relatively stable. This has not always been the case. In early 2010, for instance, the Issues Survey identified significant shifts in energy leaders’ perceptions, revealing an increase in uncertainty. If we look more closely at the main categories of the survey, we see a horizontal shift to the right of geopolitical issues, which are therefore perceived as increasingly important: this is the case, for example, with US policy. Still compared to the previous year, the examination reveals, with few exceptions, an increase in uncertainty related to technologies with sometimes significant developments, for example for carbon capture and storage, LNG or urbanisation which, as we have seen, is becoming a cause of insomnia. The issue of renewable energies is considered to have a lower impact but is more uncertain. Among the relatively stable issues are nuclear and storage, but also coal. Finally, some issues such as digitalisation, non-conventional hydrocarbons or sustainable transport are considered more uncertain for an unchanged impact. 

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