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Energy market barometer report - Summer 2016

Published on
22 September 2016

Digital transformation in the electricity sector: this Summer 2016 edition of the Grenoble Ecole de Management Energy Market Barometer explored the assessment of French Energy experts regarding the digital transformation of the electricity sector in France. These findings are compared to the responses of German experts for Germany.

Report #6 - Summer 2016

Project team

Joachim Schleich (coordinateur), Mélodie Cartel, Laurent Javaudin, Greg Molecke, Mark Olsthoorn, Anne-Lorène Vernay.

The GEM Energy Market Barometer Report (Baromètre GEM du Marché de l'Energie) is a twice-yearly survey of energy market experts from industry, science, and public administration in France.
These experts are asked to provide their assessment of short, medium and long term developments of national and international energy markets. The survey questions on the digital transformation of the electricity sector were designed in close collaboration with the ZEW, the Center for European Economic Research, which has carried out a similar barometer for Germany. This report is based on a survey that was conducted in May-June 2016 and included 97 participants from France.

Download the full study (PDF)

Key findings

  • 58% of the experts consider that the degree of digital transformation achieved in France's electricity sector is average for western countries, and more than half of them judge that the speed of this transition is too slow.
  • In France and Germany, an unfavourable cost-benefit ratio is seen as the most important barrier to digitalization in the electricity sector. The second most important barrier identified for France was an onerous regulatory framework, and for Germany it was cyber-security issues.
  • A large majority of experts in both countries thought that the technology itself was not an obstacle to the digitalization of the electricity sector.
  • While weighing the balance of priorities between digitalization and cyber-security in France, the panel of experts was split: 19% believed that digitalization was treated as the priority, while 24% thought cyber-security had been given precedence. 38% thought that a balanced approach was followed.
  • The top 3 domains where digitalization of the electricity sector is likely to create efficiency gains in France were improved predictions for load management in the grid (selected by 61% of respondents), enhanced flexibility in demand from the industry sector (53%), and better dispatching of electricity production (47%).
  • Our expert's assessment regarding the impact of the Energy transition on the competitiveness of French energy sector businesses has remained stable between 2014 and 2016: competitiveness of utilities will deteriorate the most. More generally, the experts believed that the energy transition will have a positive (46%) or very positive (11%) impact on the French economy.
  • Despite plans to reform the EU emissions trading system, our experts did not anticipate any significant rise in the price of CO2 certificates. The oil price is expected to remain stable over the next six months but to increase in the longer term.

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