How does France want to cut energy consumption this summer?

From limiting air conditioning to driving slower, Paris has issued a number of recommendations to cut energy use

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The second phase of the government’s ‘energy sobriety’ plan has been announced, with advice on how to limit electricity consumption over the summer.

A number of the measures are angled towards businesses and large corporations, with the government hoping they can spur individuals to limit energy usage.

“The biggest consumers must set an example,” said Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister Delegate for Ecological Transition on Monday (June 19).

Some of the 14 ‘flagship’ measures include vigorous enforcement of air conditioning rules, such as making sure businesses with A/C on have their doors shut and that units are not used to reduce the temperature below 26C.

Arts and outdoor festival organisers are also being asked to be more conscious of electricity consumption. It cited the Main Square festival in Arras, which will be powered with generators, as an example to follow.

Companies to lead the charge

The government hopes that this phase – Act II of a wider-arching energy sobriety plan that began in October last year – will see larger companies take on the burden of limiting consumption.

Another key measure includes asking companies to make sure their employees limit their driving speeds on motorways to 110 km/h (instead of the 130 km/h legal maximum).

Every company included in the CAC 40 – the list of largest companies on the Paris Stock Exchange – has signed up to commit themselves to energy sobriety measures.

Alongside asking private companies to control their energy usage, the government is also urging civil servants and government employees to do the same.

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They hope this will correspond to a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, alongside a 20% saving on fuel consumption – which could go a long way if France faces yet another petrol shortage.

One final measure – that will impact everyday residents in France – is a “significant increase” to a sales tax for the most polluting vehicles on the market, which should be announced soon.

Read also: This is how the government wants you to save water this summer

Plans to maintain 10% energy reduction target

All of this goes towards maintaining a reduction in overall energy consumption in France by 10%.

This figure was the original goal for 2024 and was dubbed “ambitious” at the time of its announcement. But it has already been reached thanks to previous energy conservation efforts.

Overall, energy consumption has been 12% lower between August 2022 and now, compared to the 2018-2019 equivalent – an 8% reduction in electricity consumption.

The government does not want to risk being overly ambitious and is happy to stick to the original target, which will be hit provided people continue to be careful over energy usage.

The aim is to cut energy consumption by 40% by 2050 in France, and energy sobriety is “no longer an option” but is mandatory to reach this target, said electricity transmission network operator RTE.

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