Key economic leaders call for carbon price and European industrial policy


On October 15th at World Efficiency, The Shift Project brought together the leaders of Total, Areva, EDF and E.ON Renewables, as well as a representative of the European Commission for a plenary session on the european energy sector. With Jean-Marc Jancovici, president of The Shift Project, as moderator, the session gave way to an enriching debate.

An exclusive conference by The Shift Project on the “decarbonation” of the European Energy sector

With Patrick Pouyanné (Total) Jean-Bernard Lévy (EDF) Philippe Varin (AREVA) Michael Lewis (E.ON) Anne Houtman (DG Energy, EU commission) and Jean-Marc Jancovici (The Shift Project).

Key messages:

  • The unanimous call from energy leaders for a carbon price and a long-term approach in order to stimulate the right investments and accelerate the « way out » of carbon
  • The need for a coherent industrial policy at the EU level, in order to reach decarbonation objectives. 

Main points by speakers:

Patrick Pouyanné, CEO and president of the Executive commitee, Total: First and Second Extract

  • The need to establish a carbon market and a CO2 price reaching €30 to €40
  • The absence of a European industrial policy
  • The relevance of the Canfin-Grandjean report on proposals regarding a carbon market
  • The end of Total’s activities linked to coal and the company’s choice not to exploit the Arctic
  • The role of gas in the energy mix
  • Investments in renewable energy to prepare for the future
  • The energy challenge in Africa

Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of EDF: First and Second Extract

  • In order to decarbonize, we need to :
    • Look at CO2 consumption rather than production
    • Establish market and fiscal policies favouring decarbonation
    • Accelerate EU legislation procedures on the matter
    • Establish a CO2 price that reviews energy sources’ order of merit
    • Stop opposing nuclear and renewable
  •  EDF’s objective to double – and more – renewable energy infrastructure and sustain its investments 
  • The substitution of electricity towards other energy sources in the transport and building sectors
  • The end of new coal power plant projects in Europe
  • The optimization of EDF’s activity portfolio in Europe in order to reach decarbonation objectives

Michael Lewis, COO of E.ON Renewables: Extract 1 and Extract 2

  • The need for a much higher carbon price and a EU ETS market which – although useful- needs to be adjusted 
  • The company’s 10 billion € investments in renewables (including offshore)
  • Questions linked to the storage of renewable energy

Philippe Varin, CEO and Chairman, Areva: Extract 1 and Extract

  •  The need for a price signal on carbon and a long term approach
  • The role of this price signal in the competition between decarbonised nuclear energy and renewable energy
  • The question of public acceptance of nuclear energy
  • The complementarity of nuclear energy and development of renewable energy

Anne Houtman, Principal Advisor, DG energy, European Commission: Extract

  •  The priority that should be given to reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency, especially in the building sector
  • The importance of local, regional and national action, to complement the work completed at the EU level
  • The need for the evolution of the CO2 emission allowances, and the rise of the carbon price
  • The lack of (financial) means to establish a real industrial policy at the European level.