The Négawatt association presented its fourth prospective study this morning. According to the collective of engineers who developed this scenario, France can achieve a sustainable energy model with 100% renewable electricity in 2050. Interview with its spokesperson Yves Marignac.
At the end of 2015, there was the COP 21 in Paris. Previously, the law on energy transition. Do you think that we are moving towards the 100% renewable model that you are advocating?
What has changed is the growing urgency to act. In France, there is now a real appetite for issues such as air pollution or fuel poverty. But politicians find it difficult to take ownership of the messages we convey and translate them into action, because our messages are long term. Politicians see the need to act. But over the duration of a mandate, they do not have the opportunity to do so. The recommended measures often attack levers which have a very strong inertia and do not quickly bear fruit. We are there to prepare the ground, to promote and share this long-term vision.
Do you feel like you are being listened to? You advocate the end of nuclear power in 2035. We are not taking the path.
We are listened to on many subjects. On nuclear power, there is a deadlock. The sector is so important that one has the impression that rapid transformation is not possible. In Négawatt, on the contrary, it is believed that rapid transformation is possible on condition that the nuclear sector is fully integrated into it. Today, the aging fleet of nuclear power plants, the massive reinvestment needs and the industry’s lack of industrial and financial capacity endanger the public electricity service. In our project, there is nothing impractical, but the political will must be present. The urgency is to put back on the table an industrial project for EDF which involves energy sobriety and the development of renewable energies.
Renewables are good, but what do you do when there is neither wind nor sun? ? Is it the storage of electricity that comes to make up for the absence of wind turbines and photovoltaics?
Studies by Ademe (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) and other organizations demonstrate that the 100% renewable scenario is possible. Renewables are only wind and photovoltaics. There are also hydraulics and thermal power plants running on biomass. We must also integrate the possibility of smoothing electricity consumption and developing storage locally.
But how do you manage the peaks in electricity consumption that occur with us at 9 am, then in the evening at 7 pm?
These spikes are dramatic because they are in addition to the spikes associated with electric heating. In the Négawatt scenario, we act on the thermal renovation of buildings and we gradually eliminate electric heating. We then no longer have the same peak power needs at all and this can be managed more easily from renewables, the variability of which is predictable.