France promoting industrial energy efficiency

Ludovic Dupin writes on the Novethic website about the push by France’s national energy agency to get the financial industry more involved in the energy transition. While this is important for France, it is also important for all of Europe to see these efforts.


ADEME calls on the world of finance to mobilise on the energy transition of the industry

When it comes to energy efficiency in the industry, it is not just the factory manager and the process engineer who is consulted. According to ADEME, it is also necessary to take into account the views of the CFOs, investors and bankers. Energy efficiency will become a key element in the selection of new projects.

Industry is an important player in the ecological transition in France. It represents 20% of energy consumption, 30% of electricity consumption, more than a third of CO2 emissions. According to the ADEME (The French Environment and Energy Management Agency), the sector has already made significant effort. Between 1990 and 2014, it reduced its energy consumption by 11% and its emissions of greenhouse gases by 40%.

But much remains to be done. The Agency calculates that it is still possible to improve the average energy efficiency of the hexagonal industry by 20% by 2035. This would even be a sine qua non condition for achieving the objectives of the energy transition law. Yet “it is clear that the levels of investment of enterprises remain weak,” deplores ADEME.

Financiers at the controls

To achieve this objective, three types of players are key: those responsible for energy in their enterprise, consultants and consulting firms and the financial world. On the occasion of the publication of the 2nd edition of the Colloquium on Energy Industry, ADEME is launching an appeal to this third group to get involved in the industry of the future. “It is the finance players who are in control when it comes to improving industrial processes,” said David Marchal, deputy director of Production and Sustainable Energy at ADEME.

“Internal corporate financial officers (financial managers) or external financiers (bankers, investors) need to be aware of the importance of energy performance in order to fully contribute to decision-making,” explains Sylvie Padilla, Head of Enterprise and Industrial Dynamics. For ADEME, energy performance must become a criterion in the selection of the various investment projects at the industrial sites. But experts are aware that this criterion alone will not be sufficient to trigger investment in industrial processes.

Surfing the Future Industry

According to a study by ADEME along with the companies Axens, ENEA, GRDF and GRTgaz, “there is a positive dynamic (…) when energy performance is integrated as part of the broader investment project along side the increase in production, maintenance or digital tools”. Sylvie Padilla said: “It is necessary to take advantage of the modernisation of French industry to increase energy performance. This is the challenge for the industry of the future”.

However, the gains generated by energy transformations of production processes are difficult to measure, acknowledges the government agency. To overcome this obstacle, ADEME calls for use of digital technology to better control industrial processes, along with a ‘rapprochement’ that will stimulate a common corporate culture between industry and finance. Engineers and investors working hand in hand will also be the industry of the future.

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