Renewable energies: the main lever for the energy transition of companies
Renewable energy or RE provides the same service as conventional energy, which is based on fossil resources.
RE offers two main advantages
- Having a reduced carbon footprint. Indeed, less CO₂ will be emitted for the same amount of energy consumed than their conventional equivalent.
- Being renewable resources, meaning that their use does not reduce a finite stock.
Thus, renewables are seen as a key lever for decarbonising the economy.
RE production assets can be connected directly to the gas or electricity grid and thus participate in the decarbonation of the country’s energy mix. The Guarantees of Origin associated with these assets can eventually be purchased by companies to reduce the emissions associated with their own energy mix.
Furthermore, it is also possible to produce them directly as close as possible to the point of use, on industrial sites. In this case, we are in a self-consumption scheme.
The large family of renewable energies
Solar energy allows the production of two energy vectors: electricity, from photovoltaic panels, and heat (hot water or steam) via thermal collectors (the sun heats a heat transfer fluid to transfer its heat to a water tank).
Wind power is electricity generated from the wind. There are two types : onshore and offshore. In both cases, the wind turns the blades connected to the turbine generator, which converts the kinetic energy of the wind into electrical energy.
Geothermal energy refers to heat, cooling and electricity production systems based on the thermal inertia of the ground or on underground hot water reserves.
Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water from green electricity. It is currently one of the most promising solutions for decarbonising transport today and industrial, tertiary and residential heat production tomorrow.
Biomass energy refers to heat from the combustion of wood, agricultural plant waste, etc. in a boiler or in a cogeneration system
Biogas is a green gas resulting from the methanisation of carbonaceous matter (agricultural waste, sludge from wastewater treatment plants, co-products from the food industry, etc.). It is used directly in combustion installations, or after purification in cogeneration engines. It is even possible to obtain biomethane, which is a CH4 molecule equivalent to natural gas, after the biogas has been specified.
It should be noted that the use of renewable energies faces several operational difficulties. First of all, these energies are intermittent, with difficulties of predictability for some of them. This raises the issue of energy storage, particularly in the case of green electricity. Moreover, when integrating them into industrial sites, adjustments are necessary in order to adapt the processes to their characteristics.
Nevertheless, the rapid fall in production costs suggests that these resources will be used more and more.