French Environment and Energy Management Agency
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Renewable energies and raw materials
ADEME in action
The current situation and future challenges
To reduce its dependency on energy and raw materials and to limit greenhouse gas emissions, France is turning toward opportunities offered by renewable energies and sources.
Renewable energies are forms of energy produced by non-fossil renewable sources – including wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and hydroelectric means as well as biofuels – that can be used to generate heat and electricity. Cogeneration technologies can be used to produce both heat and electricity.
These renewable energy sources are theoretically inexhaustible. However, their potential use can be somewhat limited by external factors such as geographic location, weather conditions and the like. They have little negative impact on the environment; in particular, the production and consumption of renewable energies does not produce greenhouse gas emissions, so they represent a valuable resource in the fight against climate change. Externally, the resulting effects are demonstrating the environmental benefits of these energies. On the down side, these means are not highly competitive, except in the case of wind energy, low- and high-enthalpy geothermal energy, hydroelectricity and wood-produced energy. To develop these resources further requires the support of the public in terms of both specially adapted prices per kWh produced and investment.
Renewable materials are plant substances that can be used in the place of oil to manufacture everyday consumer goods. They are industrially processed to produce new types of product, called bioproducts.
Since plant-life is a renewable resource and it recycles carbon dioxide, the chemical and energy recovery possibilities it presents are in keeping with the global fight against climate change.
The development of renewable energies and materials is not merely driven by environmental concerns; these resources also contribute to diversifying and increasing the safety of the supply of energy and raw materials. In addition to industrial considerations and the creation of jobs that their use implies, renewable energies and materials represent a core factor in the sustainable-development process, particularly at the regional level.
In 2002, a national debate on energy emphasized the importance of developing renewable energy in addition to the value of rationalizing our use of energy. Development in this area aims to meet a dual objective:
These objectives form the basis of the targets set by France’s national energy policy:
ADEME in action
In 2002 and 2003, ADEME actively participated in France’s national debate on the development of renewable energies and was a major contributor to the White Paper on energy.
The agency helps mobilize significant resources for research purposes. In the field of renewable materials, ADEME is a founding member of AGRICE, a scientific interest that works toward developing agricultural products and co-products for the energy, chemical and materials sectors.
In the area of renewable energies, ADEME contributes to developing efficient products, optimizing systems and arranging their certification, reducing production costs and more.
The agency also works in partnership with regions and industrial sectors on implementing programmes to promote the distribution of new technologies that apply renewable energies. A recent example is the Plan Soleil (Sun Plan), which encourages the development of thermal applications of solar power for both residential and commercial buildings.
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