My first time at the Assises !

Energy Cities has been taking part in the “Assises Européennes de la Transition Energétique” for 20 years. But for me, this year was the first time I had attended this local authority flagship conference on the energy transition.
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For my first time, snow made an appearance… as well as François de Rugy, the French Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition.

Half-hearted applause
Coolly received by an audience sympathetic to the claims of the “yellow vests” movement, de Rugy made no sensational announcements in his speech. He instead stressed the main pillars of the French Multiannual Energy Programme (PPE) :

  • Energy savings and reducing our dependency on fossil fuels,
  • The development of RES and the intention to increase production from 45 GWhcurrently to 100,
  • Rebalancing the energy mix and the gradual, planned and scheduledreduction (so much caution !) in the number ofnuclear plants,
  • Engaging local stakeholders, and
  • The carbon tax, of course.

An astonishing and disconcerting introduction !

To give him his due, speaking after the excellent urban psychoanalyst Laurent Petitwas no easy task. Did you know that a National Urban Psychoanalysis Agency, ANPU actually exists ?

Laurent Petitrecounted the history of energy from thecontrol of fire to the nuclear age, includingfirewood, water and wind mills… and slavery !!!
This wacky professor had us all enthralled and proposed a number of avenues for thought, more or less feasible and sustainable !

Highlights !

Packed house for the plenary session on energy sobriety and thepositive imagination of the city of Zurich where 3 out of 4 citizens voted for a 2,000 watt society in their territory.
The example of London presented by Agamemnon Otero invites us to change perspective – from “I” to “We” – and to divest from big investors with assets in fossil fuels.

The energy wanderers told us about their trip round the world and how they discovered and studied citizen engagement in energy projects.

The local COP 21 of theRouen-Normandy Metropolitan Council was also a big hit. We will probably see several local and regional COPs emerging in the next few years.

The Assises is also an opportunity to meet around a table, find new partners, renew with “old acquaintances”, make contacts for future projects, share and network.

With over 40 inspiring workshops and close to 60 speed dating sessions, there were so many subjects we could address (fuel poverty, sustainable mobility, citizen support, cooperation, 100% RES, blockchain, third-party investment,air quality , etc.) that we were spoilt for choice.

Read all about the highlights in tweets

Dunkirk’s high point !

And of course what all the conference-goers were waiting for … The carnival of Dunkirk ! 
I have no words to describe the atmosphere… You have to experience it for yourself ! Rendezvous again in Dunkirk in 2022, but before that the next European Energy Transition Conference will take place in Bordeaux in 2020 !

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©photos : Marie-Lan Nguyen / Energy Cities


Publication date

February 1, 2019