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Director of the Master in Global energy transition and governance - Research fellow CERI, Sciences-Po Paris

How does the COVID-19 pandemic affect our energy system?
François Bafoil
 - The COVID-19 pandemic is a worldwide health challenge which constitutes today’s key priority for governments and international organisations. Everyone’s life is affected and modified but the issues and problems from yesterday remain and appear even bigger. People living in poverty need energy; States are in charge of ensuring supply security; supranational organisations are urged to find new energy schemes; companies need to produce, transport and distribute energy to all consumers. The deployment of renewables and CO2 emission reduction remain urgent as ever. Therefore, Covid-19 illustrates the need to find solutions to both past and current challenges.

How should the energy sector act during this crisis?
Rachel Guyet  - In order to overcome containment measures with people working from home and staying at home all day, the energy sector has a key role to play. Although the consumption level is much lower than yesterday, energy companies are mobilised to ensure the security of energy supply, governments and utilities have taken specific measures to support vulnerable consumers among other initiatives.

Can you foresee any consequences for the energy market due to this crisis?
FB - The health crisis also has short-term and medium-term consequences that need to be addressed: the drop in oil prices has direct impacts on the oil market, in both producing and consuming countries. The reduction in energy consumption could also question the investment made and to be done in renewable energies. Nevertheless, some good news can be highlighted such as the improvement of air quality and the reduction in pollution.

Which changes do you notice on a political level?
RG - This sudden change raises questions over time: can we evaluate or foresee the long-term consequences of the health crisis on the energy sector? Can we design the future of the European Green Deal? Considering the risk of economic collapse, what will the investment capacities of investors be? Will the de-investment from fossil fuel continue? Will the health crisis be transformed into an opportunity to improve clean and affordable energy access to all?
All these questions lead to governance issues to study the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the energy sector analysed from the perspective of different interest groups, the European Union and other supranational institutions in the world, the State, the market and consumers.

How will teaching within the Master in Global Energy Transition and Governance be adapted to these changes/reflect these questionings?
FB and RG - The Energy Master programme must react to these challenges and discuss their implications with the programme’s participants. We are going to introduce a common thread in next year’s programme to provide space for debate and discussions with experts on this topic.

Director of the Master in Global energy transition and governance
CNRS Senior Research Fellow, CERI, Sciences-Po Paris

 

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