In the energy market, activism requires time … and acuteness

The world of energy is now a subject favoured by many activists: there are pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear activists, those who argue in favour or against a fast and proactive development of renewable energy, those who prefer to focus on the fight against global warming and its consequences.

These various currents often offer a mono-directional vision of the energy world, highlighting one of the objectives of the energy policy: the cost of energy and its impact on the economy, its environmental impact or the energy independence. By definition, activists are not intended to adopt exact positions but they aspire to move the lines.

So, we mustn’t fall in the trap they set and respond with solutions also based on a mono-directional approach. Any energy policy must seek a fine balance between energy costs, energy availability, environmental impact and energy independence; to preserve all players and to take into account the periods of return on investment in the energy sector, this balance can only evolve slowly over long periods spanning several decades.

If we want to respond too directly and too quickly to current activists (like the one in favour of a drastic reduction of the environmental impact, which, however, I agree personally), we are likely to lose a well balanced situation because one goal will be privileged or to generate an accelerated pace of change, potentially damaging key players.

To preserve the balance means taking the risk of being perceived as too slow or too timid in the eyes of militants. It also means not answering in the moment, listening but not pleasing immediately. It requires a lot of explanations and a neutral expert positioning, focused on the long term goal, constantly fed by different schools of thought.

The smart cities, increasingly influencing energy systems, have the opportunity to offer an alternative to the policies developed at the country level. They will need a lot of fineness, a important distance and neutrality with the current schools of thought and a certain coldness when facing militants.

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