Enedis CEO: ‘A holistic approach is key’

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“We need a long term vision, but also we need to take action right now with no further delay,” says Marianne Laigneau, Enedis.

It’s ultimately about sustainability and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, said Laigneau, chair of the management board of Enedis, the French distribution operator, in an exclusive interview with Enlit Europe Content Director Florence Coullet.

Behind energy consumption, the real question is CO2 emissions, she says, noting that in France 70% are due to energy use across the different sectors.

Thus the responsibility of the energy sector is to offer alternative energies that emit less CO2 to all the economic players but also to improve the energy efficiency and reduce losses in its own industrial processes.

As an example, Laigneau cites Enedis’s losses reduction at 6%.

“This may seem small in relative terms … but it represents more than 20TWh per year, which is half the consumption of the whole Paris area. So, we have to do something about it.

“To reach the goal [of carbon neutrality] we have to take into account all the available levers. You can be sure that a distribution grid operator like Enedis is taking this very seriously.”

Drilling down into some of the actions Enedis is taking to support sustainability, Laigneau highlighted the mobilisation of employees as well as customers and other stakeholders to build the vision cooperatively.

“From our point of view, it’s an ecological transition as it’s about new ways of producing energy and consuming energy but also new ways of working and living. It’s larger than the energy sector.”

Marianne Laigneau will be speaking during the Enlit Europe opening keynote ‘Delivering Europe’s Green Deal and a Green Recovery’ on Tuesday 30 November. Register for the live event.

As examples she points to the introduction of a climate change awareness campaign for employees and the electrification of vehicles – from 600,000 electric and hybrid vehicles currently to the 15 million targeted for 2035 – starting with Enedis’ own vehicle fleet – currently the second-largest electric fleet in France.

“It’s a huge change. I can talk also about local energy communities, the development of self-consumption and so on. Implementing this type of change is concrete action right now, but it’s also the long term vision.

“At the end, I think it’s all about changing mindsets and modalities. And that will give meaning to our daily actions.”

And notable at this time, as Laigneau pointed out, is that Enedis is recruiting approximately 1,000 new staff this year to reinforce its teams to manage all the new growth.

“It’s not a burden at all – it’s great news. Electricity is the future of the world and we have to be very ambitious about that!”

Watch the full interview

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