Dominique Ristori, Director-General of Energy for the European Commission, regards Energy Observer as a model for the transition of energy and ecology. The senior European official came to discover Energy Observer in Bastia, during one of the vessel’s technical stops. A meeting with the crew that enabled him to visit the vessel, share his vision of the future of energy in the European Union, and also to reaffirm his support for the precursory project for future energy challenges.
What actions are the European Union taking to support renewable energy?
The European Union and the Commission initiated a policy to support renewable energy about ten years ago. The goal is to reach 20% renewable energy by 2020 and we just finalized an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council for a target of 32% renewable energy by 2030. That means advancing renewable energy in transport, construction, industry and production of electricity in Europe. Renewable energy already accounts for 30% of our electricity in Europe and it will be over 50% by 2030. This century will be the century of renewable energy.
What is the role of Europe in the future of energy?
Europe should become a model not only for European countries, but for the rest of the world. In Europe, we have some of the best researchers in the world. Therefore, the important thing is to be able to use the findings of their research to create new markets and new products which correspond to the norms and standards of the future.
What is the future of the energy system relying upon a mix of renewable and hydrogen energy?
One with great challenges of the Paris Agreement is to adapt the energy system. Why? Because more than two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions originate from the production and use of energy. This means that without adapting the energy system, there won’t be any solutions or success in implementing the Paris Agreement. We should therefore promote carbon-free energy and be able to ensure electricity storage. Hydrogen is a method that should be supported, and from this standpoint, what Energy Observer is doing is exemplary and should be expanded and completed.
What do you think Energy Observer’s role is?
Energy Observer is a role model. The ecological and energetic transition should not be considered as constraints or obligations. It is first and foremost an opportunity. Energy Observer, like Solar Impulse in aviation, is paving a completely new way for maritime transport and, more broadly, for the storage and production of clean energy, which is one of the biggest challenges to overcome. Yet, Energy Observer’s ability to navigate while benefiting both from renewable energy and hydrogen enables not only the production of electricity without CO2, but also its storage. This vessel is a living example of what it is possible to do in this field, and this is why this project deserves to be known and supported.
Why and how does the European Union support Energy Observer?
The European Union supports Energy Observer because this vessel is a pioneer of the transition of energy and ecology. This is why we include Energy Observer in many of our big meetings regarding ecological transition and sustainable development. We support this type of research and innovative projects.