Gas and Renewable Energies, the Best Allies for Generating Power

By Patrick POUYANNÉ, Chairman and CEO of TOTAL

Demand for electricity is growing faster than primary energy demand overall. To square with the history-making target set by 195 nations at COP21 in Paris in December 2015 to keep global warming below 2°C, gas and renewable energies will have to gain ground in the power mix. The International Energy Agency expects gas to make up 22% and solar and wind power 8% of the global energy mix in 2035, compared respectively to 21% and 1% today.

Through our affiliate SunPower, we rank among the top three globally in the solar industry and want to keep growing across the photovoltaic value chain, by designing and manufacturing cells, building utility scale solar power plants and marketing integrated solar solutions that combine solar energy, storage, digital optimization tools for distributed power generation. All told, SunPower has deployed more than 6 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity worldwide.

But if renewable energies are to be developed on a large and profitable scale, we must address the challenges associated with their intermittency, and consequently connecting
them to grids at a cost that local communities can afford. The availability of solar and wind energy varies greatly depending on the weather and the time of day and does not always match demand, which itself fluctuates.
But consumers have every right to expect to have power when they need it, which means that it always has to be available. Storage is one solution to offset the intermittency of renewables. What’s more, we just recently acquired Saft, an industrial flagship recognized globally for its technological know-how in batteries. Saft will allow us to add electricity storage solutions to our portfolio, absolutely necessary to the profitability of renewable energies.


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