Stéphane Dupré La Tour – Innovation and Digital Technologies

Stéphane Dupré La Tour – Director of Advanced Innovation and Digital Technologies at EDF R&D

In this 4th In The MIX.E interview, Stéphane Dupré La Tour – Director of Advanced Innovation and Digital Technologies at EDF R&D presents EDF’s commitments to the energy transition and its projects for a more environmentally friendly future.

The energy world has entered a crisis according to the International Energy Agency. The cause is the consequences of the war in Ukraine. France’s trade balance has broken a record deficit.

The challenges to be met:

  • In the short term: reduce the consumption of methane gas (imported, very polluting, responsible for the price hike…). The crisis has clearly shown that the use of methane gas cannot be a conditional energy source; its use must be reduced more quickly than expected. It will be necessary to review the European market organisation (“market design”) to authorise long-term contracts so that industrialists can benefit from price stability.
  • In the medium term: increase the energy sovereignty of the whole of Europe. Work on industrial policy and thus avoid importing solar panels, batteries, etc. and reflect on the strategic value chain.
  • In the long term: the climate must remain the major priority. Develop everything that is low-carbon in France and in Europe.

Ecological planning

According to Stéphane Dupré La Tour, we have not yet started to try to decarbonise. He wanted to give a message of hope: we need ecological planning, which will be able to give clear signals, and let citizens, universities, etc. organise themselves.

In terms of public and economic action, we must avoid extremes. Not everything will be solved by technology or by forced sobriety aiming at degrowth (socio-solutionism). We must send them back to back, we must launch everything we can. We don’t need everything, it’s a question of balancing the solutions.

The International Energy Agency has estimated a mix that seems plausible:

  1. Acting on behaviours (the way we eat, move, the implementation of a circular economy…) which will account for 10 to 15% of the reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050.
  2. The dissemination of mature solutions, which are available immediately (acting on energy use, replacing fossil fuels, etc.) will account for 50 to 60% of the progress made up to 2050.
  3. Solutions that still require research and innovation (electric trucks, synthetic fuels, etc.) solutions that already exist but are not yet perfected. This will represent 30 to 40% of the distance to be covered between now and 2050, but which will rather arrive around 2045. We need to mobilise public research (CEA, Insa, etc., in conjunction with large companies).

Energy Mix

To accelerate decarbonisation, these three families need to be put in place, and therefore an energy MIX needs to be carried out.

At the national level, the inflection of the Belfort speech is a welcome change. 14 new reactors, launching support for small modular nuclear reactors. There will therefore be a need for a large influx of technicians and engineers in this sector.

At the regional level, “excellence industrie” in Écully (Rhône-Alpes region) involves the SNCF, HEF, etc., whose objective is to work on joint solutions for digital transitions, factories of the future and the circular economy.

For Stéphane Dupré La Tour, EDF is a partner of MIX.E because it produces more than 140% of the region’s electricity consumption, and is therefore the region’s largest energy provider. It is therefore logical that EDF should be associated as a sponsor of the MIX.E exhibition. For the other academic actors, transport agencies, industrialists and energy companies, a consensus can be reached on the fact that it is necessary to add forces. The decarbonisation process must be done together. Coming to MIX.E means participating in this adventure and giving a message of hope and mobilization to the younger generations! EDF’s message: “EDF wants to say to the younger generations: don’t give up, get involved in these new solutions. Come and invent them, come and preserve your future, and it is at a fair like MIX.E that we will find the demonstration of dynamism and that these solutions are in the making and that we will be able to implement them and respond to the challenges and issues of our society and our planet.

Expert: Stéphane Dupré La Tour – Director of Advanced Innovation and Digital Technologies at EDF R&D