Carbon neutrality by 2050
In 2019, following the United Nations' adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, the European Union (EU) made the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 part of its policies. This ambition in response to the climate emergency was ramped up in December 2019 with the "European Green Deal" which aims for a minimum 55% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 instead of the 40% target currently in place (compared with 1990).
Many countries have included these European ambitions into their national regulations. This is the case in France, where the national low-carbon strategy and the Energy and Climate Law adopted in 2019 aim for "zero net emissions" in 2050. The Multiannual Energy Plan (Programmation pluriannuelle de l'énergi, or PPE) is a French energy policy management tool that will set the pace for the main goals and stages on the path towards a decarbonised energy system.
GRTgaz and the decarbonisation challenge
Despite consumption levels that are gradually falling due to improvements in energy efficiency, gas still has a role to play in France’s low-carbon strategy.
Gas is an important component in the energy mix, in particular in the form of renewable gas, which will gradually be substituted for natural gas. A 2018 study by ADEME (an ecological transition agency) carried out with GRDF and GRTgaz highlights the idea that renewable gas deposits could cover 100% of French gas consumption by 2050.
Renewable gases are expected to develop to such an extent that they form the basis for strong regional energy policy ambitions and play an important role in the Regional Plans for Land Planning, Sustainable Development, and Territorial Equality (SRADET). As a major element of the territories’ ecological transition, they have a positive impact in terms of local jobs, mobility and air quality.
GRTgaz innovates and adapts its network and facilities to promote the safe, affordable injection of increasing amounts of renewable gas. It also supports the various sectors linked to the industrial processes of anaerobic digestion, pyro-gasification, hydrothermal gasification and hydrogen.
At the same time, GRTgaz is taking steps to reduce its environmental footprint even further, thus contributing to reducing the impact of the whole gas chain, while preserving the energy efficiency of its model.
Strengths to draw on
As a European leader in high-pressure gas transmission, GRTgaz has a number of strengths to draw on faced with changes in the energy mix:
- advanced expertise in engineering, studies, timings, gas qualities and R&D,
- top-quality performance of public service missions,
- a cutting-edge industrial tool, with its 32,500 km network in France,
- a unique experience of working together with market players and the ability to coordinate the sectors, as well as strong legitimacy and the expectation of our stakeholders to support and expedite the transitions,
- a mission carried out within a regulatory framework and geared towards developing the territories,
- committed actions promoting carbon neutrality, both for its own emissions (lower methane emissions and energy consumption) and to support the development of renewable gases and new gas uses (mobility, industry, etc.),
- the commitment and motivation of the company’s employees, who have once again displayed all their fortitude during the health crisis.
A clearly defined core purpose
"Together, we enable an energy future that is safe, affordable and climate neutral". This is the core purpose adopted by GRTgaz in October 2020 and set out in its Articles of Association. This core purpose is grounded in the company itself and in its public service missions. It is a long-term guiding principle that determines GRTgaz’s strategic directions and resultant actions. It highlights the challenge of an integrated governance whose strategy includes strong extra-financial commitments, beyond the company’s financial goals, which are for the common good and in the general interest.
This core purpose is the result of a long process of collaboration and listening involving all stakeholders (employees, shareholders, customers, territories, public authorities). It was developed as part of the so-called “PACTE” (Action Plan for the Growth and Transformation of Companies) Law, and can be broken down into 5 points:
- the general interest, to ensure the reliability and performance of the energy system,
- responsibility, to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality,
- innovation, to implement initiatives supporting the ecological transition,
- humanist values, to promote the quality of work life,
- co-construction with stakeholders, to make dialogue a central aspect of the core purpose.
Inspired directly by its core purpose, GRTgaz has established an ambitious company project, Cap24, which sets out its directions and strategic targets for 2024 and builds on its human strengths. One of its main focus areas is ramping up the energy transition in close collaboration with stakeholders. GRTgaz is taking action towards this goal while ensuring the quality of its public service missions and strengthening its regional presence.