Our vision for Europe: Reliable, affordable and low-carbon energy

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

This article is part of our special report Access to Energy.

Clean, reliable and affordable energy is essential to the fabric of society itself, driving successful industries and businesses, says Igor Czerny of EDF.

Igor Czerny is senior vice president for European Affairs at EDF, the French energy supplier.

"More than ever today, we are called upon to mobilise our resources with vision and dynamism in order to restore confidence in Europe’s ability to address economic, social and environmental challenges, both now and for the years to come.

Our company’s future depends on three key factors: investment, innovation and job creation. It is my conviction that creating the conditions for industry to thrive, to deliver outstanding performance year on year and to compete in a global marketplace, should be first and foremost on our collective agenda.

But for this to be sustainable we need to integrate our environmental and social responsibilities right from the start.

Clearly, our success depends on a strategic long-term vision for Europe’s energy future. Clean, reliable and affordable energy is essential to the fabric of society itself, driving successful industries and businesses, and it is also a vital factor for the quality of life of all citizens.

Therefore, energy companies have to respond to the electricity demand of each and every customer, from large businesses to residential customers, at all times, in all weather conditions, while ensuring that it is provided at the lowest possible cost. And preparing the future means constantly reaching for the cutting edge of innovation.

At EDF we have a proven track record of providing this service, attentive to the needs of all our customers and to society as a whole, making us one of the most trusted brands in France. This reputation owes much to the commitment of our employees and also to our long and consistent record of operational excellence, which is based on integrating innovative technology into a stable and reliable system of energy generation.

But customer expectations are evolving. Increasingly, customers expect energy companies to explore, develop and implement cleaner and more efficient technologies. They expect to be co-partners in the management of their own energy usage. They demand more information and more responsive services, they expect costs to be kept in check, and they want to make a real contribution to mitigating climate change. In order to adapt to this new environment, it is not enough to simply invest in new generation methods. Smart systems, eco-efficient technology, new offers and services – these are just some of the initiatives we have implemented.

As we rise to our challenges throughout Europe, clean, affordable and reliable energy will prove to be one of our major assets. That is why the discussions underway here in Brussels are so timely. All the issues on the table, the roadmap to 2050, investment in infrastructure, renewables, energy efficiency and so on, require genuine participation from all stakeholders, to ensure that we can lay the foundations for the Europe of tomorrow. This, no less, is what is at stake today.

What lies ahead requires active cooperation, open discussion, leadership and vision.

Discussions such as those made possible by European Sustainable Energy Week are sure to make a valuable contribution to wise decision-making. If we make the right decisions now, we will not only generate economic growth in the short term, but also help shape the energy landscape that future generations will inherit.

Through EDF’s low-carbon mix and our commitment to innovation and environmental and social responsibility, we can help ensure sustainability in Europe. I am committed to bringing EDF’s experience to the table in order to contribute to the debate on sustainable energy, a cornerstone of Europe’s success going forward."

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