Assessment of national strategy about research in energy
The 'national energy research strategy' was laid down by the programme Act of 13 July 2005 setting forth the energy policy goals. The first edition of this strategy was published in May 2007 by the ministries of research and industry and, pursuant to said Act, must be assessed by the Parliamentary Office for Scientific and Technological Assessment (OPECST). Following a year-long investigation, which led them to hear sixty or so energy specialists in France, and fifty or so in Finland, the United States and Japan, the two rapporteurs, Messrs. Christian Bataille and Claude Birraux, deputies, criticise the strategy elaboration methodology and the lack of governmental involvement, which have led to a lack of genuine priority choices. They therefore recommend that the next strategy in 2012 should be based on a more systematic approach, and also that its content should be presented to and approved at a Cabinet meeting presided over by the President of the Republic, and published in the Official Gazette by a joint decree of the ministers for research and energy, as laid down by law. They also report an institutional weakness in the steering of research, and recommend the appointment of a 'High Commissioner for Energy', the appointment of 'coordinators' in the partnership programmes, as well as the creation of a National Assessment Board (CNE) tasked with new energy technologies, shaped like the one already in charge of research on radioactive wastes. Their analyses regarding research priorities confirm, except for a few adjustments, the primacy of nuclear and petroleum research, as well as the relevance of four tracks highlighted by the Grenelle de l'environnement, governmental round table process on the environment: photovoltaic energy, second generation biofuels, rechargeable batteries, marine energies. The rapporteurs also emphasise the importance of large capacity energy storage for a more balanced development of renewable energies, and present in this respect the idea of creating artificial atolls on the coast, which can complete the contribution made by water storages in the mountains. They affirm the research priority of stationary and portable uses of the fuel cell over car uses and, with reference to carbon gas capture and storage, the need to return to the initial spirit of international cooperation and to engage in further analysis of the industrial exploitability of carbon gas. Last, the rapporteurs insist on the essential contribution training makes to technological evolution: training of engineers for system design and development, and also training of technicians for installation and maintenance.
Short title:
Energy research
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Project leader:
Office Parlementaire dĀ“Evaluation des Choix Scientifiques et Technologiques of the French Parliament (OPECST)