French Energy Transition Debate, Europeanization, European integration
Since the beginning of the European integration in the 1950s, the energy had always a peculiar place in the European project. The first energy source in Europe after the Second World War, coal, was the key to the
creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951. The European fathers estimated, in a the context of the Cold war to mutualise coal resources and needs between six countries (France, Germany, Italy and Benelux countries) in order to permit economic growth and industrial production in a spirit of cooperation and not in a spirit of competition. However several attempts of Jacques Delors, President of the European Commission between 1984 and 1995 to take example of the ECSC to create a true European Energy Community (Fitoussi and others, 2007), this topic was not really at the top of the EU agenda before the energy-climate package of 2008.
This agreement was a milestone, a worldwide novelty for energy-climate politics and policies (Massai, 2012). Energy, a policy at the core of national sovereignty, a high strategic matter for economic growth and prosperity was partially transferred at the EU level and last but not least by a strong will to input climate change actions in your energy supply production and consumption. There was at the same time an empowerment of the EU perspective and the need for a paradigm shift. This new paradigm is the basis of the energy transition (ET) concept. How to tackle this new concept? Sadly, nor the European Commission (EC), the International Energy Agency (IEA) or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had found a consensual definition, however they are similar trends. For this research, we will take the definition (or the attempt of definition) made by the economist Alain Grandjean in January 2013 during the first phase of the French Energy Transition Debate (FETD).
[...] In 2012, nuclear energy represented of all the production of electricity. Overall, the following chart indicates if we had all energy supply (electricity plus heat and transport), nuclear represents around 50% of the energy supply in France nowadays (IEA page 16). Renewables energies, such as wind and solar powers but also hydroelectricity are responsible for 11% of the electricity in France, but are underused for heat or transport. In terms of consumption, with the following chart (IEA page 18) illustrates the division into almost three equal main consumers of energy in France: transport, industry and other (mostly residential and agriculture). [...]
[...] With the decision of the German government to boost their energy transition in 2011 after the Fukushima nuclear accident, Berlin became an example to scrutinise or to follow even if it took time for Angela Merkel's government to europeanise its policy (Fischer and Geden, 2011). The FETD recognised the impact of the German ‘Energywiende' as a milestone of energy-climate policies with specific comparisons between both countries and which lessons French decision-makers should talk into account from Germany (Roger-Lacan, 2013). However, there was no explicit reference of EU legislation, or EU influence. From a technician's point of view of the Committee, the German example is a case of ‘soft' lateral Europeanisation, a mere policy benchmarking. From a political agenda, the French-German axis was strongly supported. [...]
[...] For instance, the contribution of French Regions Associations (ARF) stresses out the need of EU funding with Structural funds, the European Investment Bank. Paradoxically there are also signs of resistance of EU norms in this context of Europeanisation. Some contributions coming from Members of the Parliament (both Senate and National Assembly), interests groups or trade unions are indeed without EU references. The energy policy indeed is a shared competence, so not choosing a European perspective is understandable. The Europeanisation remains a partial phenomenon in the energy transition policy, especially on social aspects and energy mix. [...]
[...] directives and regulations at both the political (energy-climate package) and at the technical levels (same requirements for infrastructures, national evaluations, regulation of new technologies etc.). But there is also a consistent literature or framework provided by soft law. The most accurate case for climate policies lately, is the publication of the 2050 energy roadmap COM (2011) 885. This roadmap at first evaluates what have been done so far and pushes forward for further efforts into energy efficiency measures? Why is this important? [...]
[...] This new paradigm is the basis of the energy transition concept. How to tackle this new concept? Sadly, nor the European Commission the International Energy Agency (IEA) or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had found a consensual definition, however they are similar trends. For this research, we will take the definition (or the attempt of definition) made by the economist Alain Grandjean in January 2013 during the first phase of the French Energy Transition Debate (FETD). Energy transition can be frame as: “ a process that goes into an energetic model which permits to satisfy in sustainable, durable, fair and safe way (for mankind and the environment) energy's needs of citizens and the French economy in a low carbon in natural resources, in energy and in carbon” (Grandjean page (translated in English) Hereafter, the energy transition identified, we shall define the concept of energy policy. [...]
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