The new “transition management team” running the French energy giant Engie following the sacking of chief executive Isabelle Kocher has unveiled three “key objectives”, including achieving a 58% share of renewables in its electricity capacity mix by 2030, up from 28% last year.
The other key objectives are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its power production from 80 million tonnes in 2019 to 43 million by 2030 — to be in line with the Paris Agreement — and to increase the share of women in the management of the group from 24% in 2019 to 50% by 2030.
Renewable energy is one of three pillars of the company’s transition towards carbon neutrality, alongside energy efficiency and “gas becoming progressively greener”, said interim chief executive Claire Waysand in an earnings call on Thursday morning.
“Gas is a critical part of the world’s clean-energy transition,” she added. “It is easy to transport, easy to store over a long period and at a large scale. It is also a perfect complement to renewables and we are working on making it greener.”
She later explained that Engie was scaling up its green hydrogen projects in the south of France, and was also “very much working on” biomethane.
The company — which started life as gas monopoly Gaz de France — added 3GW of renewable energy last year, with wind and solar production growing by 49% compared to 2018.
Chief operating officer Paulo Almirante explained that Engie now has 5GW of renewables under construction, 3GW of which will be commissioned this year — four times more than in 2018 — including 1.2GW of wind and 450MW of solar in North America.
He added that a “significant portion of this capacity” will be sold via corporate power-purchase agreements, with 2GW of such deals signed last year.
“We have now entirely secured our target of 9GW of additional renewable capacity over 2019-21,” he added.
The company also divested or closed down 3.5GW of its coal-fired power capacity in 2019, with the dirty fuel now representing only 4% of its electricity-generation portfolio.
Engie recorded earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of €10.4bn, an increase of 0.7% on the previous year, it was revealed.
Current operating income (COI) rose by 0.5% year on year to €5.7bn, with renewables contributing €1.19bn, an increase of 5% on the previous year. Engie's gas networks business still contributed the most to the company's COI, with €2.33bn, despite a 3% fall.
There was little mention of Kocher in the earnings call, with chairman Jean-Pierre Clamadieu saying that an executive search company would soon be hired with a view to getting “the right leader in place” within six to 12 months.
Until then, the transition management team of Waysand, Almirante and chief financial officer Judith Hartmann will continue running the company.