New tool to monitor energy transition progress of French regions

The observatory collects its data from the regional energy-climate observatories present in all French regions. [geniusksy/Shutterstock]

Climate Action Network France launched on Monday (11 January) its observatory of regional climate-energy targets, a tool that makes it possible to visualise the progress of each French region in terms of energy and climate transition. EURACTIV France reports.

On its website, progress is presented using three main indicators: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, end-user energy consumption, and renewable energy production within each region. Graphs provide an overview of how far each region has come in achieving its energy and climate objectives.

For each indicator, the results are divided into sectors.  For example, the Ile-de-France region is currently 1.6% above the target it set itself in 2017 in terms of reducing GHG emissions.

In particular, the region is lagging behind in the transport (with excess GHG emissions totalling 5.5%) and tertiary sectors (+10.9%) but has significantly reduced its GHG emissions in the industry (-18.3% compared with the target) and agricultural (-5.5%) sectors.

The website, therefore, makes it possible to differentiate between sectors requiring more sustained efforts and those that meet the objectives set by each region.

The observatory collects its data from the regional energy-climate observatories in all French regions.

However, the aim is not to compare different regions, explained Zoé Lavocat, climate and territories manager of the Climate Action Network France. Likewise, it is not about finding out whether the various energy transition plans are compatible with national objectives, she added.

According to Adrien Jacob, a project manager at negaWatt, an association committed to energy efficiency and the development of renewables, “each region has a very specific socio-economic context and renewable energy potential”.

It would therefore be very complicated to ask for the same level of effort from each region or to compare the different achievements between them.

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A ‘necessary’ tool for regional actors

On the other hand, the creation of this new observatory is a necessary step to make the regions’ climate policies more transparent, but also to the actors of the transition within each territory, explained Lavocat.

Hervé Lefebvre, head of the low carbon trajectories unit within the Ecological Transition Agency (ADEME), which supported the observatory’s creation, stressed that “the regions play a central role in managing the energy and climate transition”. The site, he added, will be an important tool for “accompanying all the players” in this transition within the French territories.

The display of progress per sector based on independent data should make it easier for these sectors to identify where their region stands on the transition and to fully adapt their commitment to the specific needs of their areas.

the majority of the Regional Spatial Planning, Sustainable Development, and Territorial Equality Schemes (SRADDET) – which precisely set the energy and climate objectives – only came into force in 2020.

With the exception of the Île-de-France area – which has had a regional climate-air-energy scheme in place since 2012 – most regions will therefore have to wait a while before being able to visualise the convergence (or not) between the climate and energy objectives and their respective achievements throughout France.

A similar tool has just been set up at the national level too. The Climate Energy Observatory, developed by the Climate Action Network and the CLER-Network for the Energy Transition, provides a visual overview of progress in the field of energy transition, but for the whole of France.

{Edited by Benjamin Fox}

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