We spend 60 seconds with Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE
Why is your company part of the Hydrogen Council? Why do you believe this initiative is so important?
ENGIE is one of the founding members of the Hydrogen Council. We are convinced that hydrogen, and more particularly renewable hydrogen, will play a major role in the next phase of the energy transition. By that I mean that we go beyond decarbonizing electricity production, and strive to decarbonize all the uses of energy: transportation, industry, heating and cooling.
Besides, on a large scale, hydrogen offers a solution to the intermittence problem of renewable energy sources because Power to Gas is currently the best massive storage solution for surplus energy production.
Being part of the Hydrogen Council, which gathers leading international firms operating in the hydrogen sector, helps promote the significant benefits of hydrogen and bring awareness among policy makers and investors.
Which hydrogen project run by your company are you most proud of?
I am most proud of our participation in a project regarding the mobility strategy in the Auvergne Rhône Alpes Region. It aims at deploying 20 green hydrogen-filling stations and 1000 hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles by 2021.
ENGIE has worked with the Region and Michelin, with the aim of sustaining the dynamics of this promising project for the future of carbon-free mobility. The partnership with Michelin is all the more natural that both companies hold stakes in Symbio FCell; a company offering hydrogen fuel-cell powered autonomy extenders for electrical batteries in EVs.
What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing Hydrogen technology right now? How does your organization intend to deal with this challenge?
Hydrogen technology already exists, but the biggest challenge is that of competitiveness. Cost reduction will be driven by the large scale deployment of infrastructure of the main technologies.
In order to achieve this, we need policy-makers to send the right signals to industrials and investors. This means positive and stable policies on the long term, a specific status for renewable hydrogen, more simple regulations, support for private public partnerships, etc.
At ENGIE, we have already developed, among others, a green hydrogen offer for the industry sector, hydrogen mobility infrastructures and solutions, power to gas demonstrators and various research & technology projects.
At the end of 2017, we decided to accelerate on our hydrogen strategy . That is why we created an entity dedicated to renewable hydrogen. This entity, with a global reach, is intended to develop mass-scale positions all along the value chain.
If you could communicate one hydrogen-related message to the general public, what would it be?
Renewable hydrogen: an already available zero emission fuel for mobility and industry.
What is the one key message that you would like to pass on to all Hydrogen Council CEOs and teams?
Our work together is extremely important. By engaging with all stakeholders, we have the power to support the development of hydrogen, a truly game-changing technology and significantly accelerate the energy transition.
When we speak again in 2019 and are looking back at Hydrogen Council’s work this year, what would you like to be able to say?
When we meet again in a year from now, I would like to be able to tell you that the work of the Hydrogen Council has been decisive in achieving the implementation of incentive regulations and the growth of private public partnerships projects in key countries. I am fairly confident that it is what I will say then.