During a long speech addressed to the representatives of the 50 most polluting sites in France, the President of the Republic set out a roadmap. And promises aid on a give-and-take basis.
Hydrogen, carbon capture, biomass. Faced with the most polluting industrialists in the country, Emmanuel Macron sketched out what industrial decarbonization could look like, while the levers in the field currently remain few and expensive, and France wants to reduce emissions by half. (43 million tons of C02, or 10% of national emissions) by 2030. Enough to honor its European commitments, set by the Fit for 55 plan, and which should lead to carbon neutrality by 2050.
Priority was given to three technologies capable of generating these changes, starting with hydrogen: recalling that France adopted a plan on this subject in 2018, the President of the Republic mentioned the 2 billion already invested in gigafactory electrolyser projects, producing “green” hydrogen.
Several dozen hydrogen production sites are to be expected, because we have the possibility of reconsolidating an entire value chain”, he said. 3 billion euros are reserved to finance the projects nominated within the European framework and 4 additional billions will be mobilised.”
Another subject, biomass: Emmanuel Macron pleaded for the constitution of an “integrated forestry sector” capable of increasing the production of biomass available for uses which have no non-polluting alternatives. He also announced that a strategy would be built within 6 months by the government on this subject, and that 200 million euros will be invested “in the next 3 years in fundamental and applied research”. Heat storage and chemical processes are the priorities.
Finally, the executive seems to want to speed up on carbon capture and sequestration technologies: if the process is criticized by scientists and environmental associations, it could prove necessary for highly polluting industrialists to reduce their residual emissions.
It is essential to prepare a large-scale deployment of this technology because it is the only one that allows decarbonization for certain platforms, explains Emmanuel Macron. France 2030 will quickly contribute to this, with the presentation within six months by the government of a plan on the subject, which will be integrated into the multi-annual energy program.
Doubling of public aid
After these sectoral announcements, the President of the Republic launched a challenge to industrialists, through “ecological transition contracts”: he wants them to accelerate the research and deployment of non-polluting solutions – with additional aid at stake.
“If projects and sites are identified within 18 months, if you double your efforts (..) we will double the resources devoted to this issue and increase the envelope from 5 to 10 billion euros for support” , said the head of state.
Committed to having to achieve a reduction of 10 million tonnes of annual CO2 emissions for the time being, manufacturers are therefore encouraged to switch to a target of 20 million, a way of achieving the objectives of the Fit for 55 plan without constraint.