Direct electrification pivotal to meeting climate ambitions


Jean Bernard Lévy EDF Chairman and CEO and newly elected president of Eurelectric made it crystal clear in his opening remarks of the Power Summit session ‘From here to 2030’ that the electric industry has a pivotal responsibility in achieving climate ambitions.

Said Lévy: “Direct electrification is the key enabler to meet the climate ambitions of the future. Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 requires deep transformation of our energy systems, shifting away from fossil fuels and entering into an elect decade”.

Jean Bernard Lévy was joined by captains of industry to understand how this electric decade can and must fight carbon in all sectors, allowing us to reach our climate targets. Speakers and panellists also unpacked the practical steps needed to ensure urgent action.

“If we want to deliver the amount of electricity needed while ensuring resilience and security of supply, we must invest massively in renewables, low carbon generation, networks, storage, digital solutions. To get this done, we need a supportive and comprehensive regulatory framework to be attractive to investors.”

Why the electric decade? Lévy explains that more electricity means fewer emissions. More electrification also will mean a more energy efficient society, a more integrated and connected power system, as well as a thriving European industry.

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Lévy concluded: “I have a clear and bold conviction which I want to share with you. Our electricity industry can change our economy and our society. Electricity transformed the world in the 19th century, electricity will be the key enabler of the net zero ambition and the next decade will be the electric decade.”

Speakers agreed that the scale of the energy transition is unprecedented and there are many uncertainties, across European member states, each with different starting points.

Jean-Marc Ollagnier, CEO Europe, Accenture: “The energy transition is the largest infrastructure intervention since rebuilding after World War Two”.

Ollagnier made it clear that achieving this mammoth task in the constrained time frame will involve many stakeholders and collaboration beyond the energy industry.

Energy companies must also embrace digitalisation across their operations. In fact, Jean-Marc Ollagnier believes energy companies must be perceived as technology companies working to fix one of the biggest problems facing our planet. That perception will ensure they attract the talent required to drive transformation.

Ollagnier suggests “redefining your strategy, governance, purpose and talent base with digital and sustainability at the core.”

Ignacio S. Galán, chairman and CEO of Iberdrola called for faster and more agile permitting processes, energy taxation and public support for low carbon technologies. He also emphasised the need to avoid investment in assets that have no future.

Markus Rauramo, president & CEO of Fortum emphasised the need to decarbonise the 5000TWh of gas-powered electricity currently being used by Europe. Hydrogen will be a useful component to this process however, Rauramo makes it clear, the technology, innovation, and capital are ready to go, but it comes down to sound policy frameworks to mobilise and unleash the investment. First, ensure visibility and predictability in policy, then the projects become bankable and desirable.

You can listen to the full discussion below or peruse the Power Summit Programme (25-28 May) for a range of interesting future-focused topics.