Free Energy, $10 A Barrel Oil By 2025 Says French Utility Company


“The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here,” says Thierry Lepercq, head of research, technology and innovation for Engie SA. He thinks the cost of solar power will drop below $10 a megawatt-hour ($0.01 per kWh) before 2025 in the world’s sunniest places. Engie recently conducted a “very deep modeling” of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region of France, which has about 5 million inhabitants. The study showed those regions could run entirely on renewable energy for about 20% less than the price of electricity today. Engie executive predicts free energy

Lepercq also predicts that oil will drop to around $10 a barrel by 2025. “Even if oil demand continues to climb until 2025, its price could drop to $10 if markets anticipate a significant fall in demand,” Lepercq said at his office near Paris. “Solar, battery storage, electrical and hydrogen vehicles, and connected devices are in a ‘J’ curve,” he said. “Hydrogen is the missing link in a 100 percent renewable energy system, but technological bricks already exist.”

A big supporter of hydrogen power, Lepercq thinks hydrogen may be as cheap as liquefied natural gas in less than 10 years. “We’ll have the possibility to transport energy (liquid hydrogen) that’s produced very cheaply in remote places,” Lepercq said. He is encouraged by the construction of the first liquefied hydrogen carrier by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. as part of a Japanese plan to import hydrogen from Australia and believes “hundreds” more will be launched in the coming decade.

Engie was once the natural gas monopoly holder in France. Over the past decade, it has invested in renewables while it selling off coal fired plants and exploration assets to shield itself from commodity price swings. It is now the world’s largest non-state owned power producer with operations around the globe. In September, Engie bought a stake in Heliatek, a German start-up developing photovoltaic films that can be applied to the exterior of buildings. It also acquired an interest in Symbio FCell, a French manufacturer of fuel cells that convert hydrogen into electricity to run vehicles.

The company plans to spend more than $1.5 billion by 2018 on technologies including grid-scale battery storage, hydrogen output, “mini-grids” that serve small clusters of homes, and smart buildings that link up heating, lighting and IT systems to save energy and cut costs. “In the months to come, we expect to announce the first major steps of projects, investments, partnerships and potential acquisitions” in these areas, said Lepercq, a former banker and entrepreneur. In 2006, he co-founded Solairedirect, a solar developer that was bought by Engie in 2015. “We’re talking about technology platforms in which massive value can be created from comparatively small investment.”

For decades, futurists have been predicting a time when electricity would be “too cheap to meter.” If Lepercq is correct, that time is less than 10 to 15 years away.

Source: Bloomberg

A tip of the hat to Leif Hansen

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  • GregS

    Woah – that’s an extremely aggressive call, and while I have no doubt that renewable will make great strides between now and 2025, there is simply no way that oil will be pushed down that far, that fast.

    • Antony Berretti

      Something to think about!

    • Steve Hanley

      It is a very aggressive prediction, Greg. Kinda hard to see it happening that way, but this IS a very large utility company whose roots date back 100 years or more.

      What impressed me most was that it is selling off its coal powered holdings while in the US we have a new leader who wants to reinvigorate the coal sector. Both can’t be correct.

      • Tim Jonson

        Yes they can; Engie can move on to other sectors in the energy business while coal mining enjoys a resurgence. The coal business might not last that long, but stopping it by political fiat is a lot more destructive to jobs than letting it phase out.

  • Antony Berretti

    The French in particular have good reason to see costs in PV reduced, late to the party they are facing mounting costs in their nuclear goods and need to switch to renewables very quickly and in great volume.

    • kevin mccune

      The French seem to have done pretty good with their nuclear program ,having a pretty grown up attitude about the whole thing ,Three Mile Island was greatly over emphasized , Chernobyl was Hell on Earth .But alas like any source of power renewables are a better solution ( plus conservation )

      • Antony Berretti

        Many stations are forced to close down in summer due to cooling water temperatures being to high. On the coast fish and jellyfish have also caused shutdowns. In some reactors design flaws have caused problems and a few are reaching end of life. So for the moment it may seem productive and efficient, but I for one would not live in France when these stations are to be decommissioned, the costs will be staggeringly high and commit 25 to 30 generations to pay for those costs.
        No one will die from PV radiation……or decommissioning….

        • kevin mccune

          Good enough . almost as many problems as coal mining and ash disposal( some of those scars will take generations to erase and some bio habitats may never recover )
          I like PVs too . now if I can just find a way to afford a system .

          • Antony Berretti

            Hi Kevin, question, you are not yet using PV because of costs or other factor?
            My view it depends on what you expect a system to do, where you live and if you own the property.
            PV can be a lot less costly then you think.

          • kevin mccune

            Well you certainly have some salient points ,I could do more with less , as you know electricity spoils us because of the convenience .Lets break it down into the two most basic needs ie ; lights and refrigeration ,these could be easily met with a couple of dedicated arrays ,but we as a spoiled nation like other things , AC , washer and dryer ,big screen TVs , PCS , space heating , pressurized water ,the list goes on .Right now I am pretty poor ( nearing retirement age ) and even during this mild winter my electric bill has ran close to only $100 (total utility ) on a 2000 + sq ft house ( wouldn’t do that again ) not bad eh ? .Largely due to the fact a lightning strike took out my heat pump ,late summer and cant afford to have it fixed .
            I built a small ” stove room” a few years back and installed a self built all fuels masonry flue ,surprise ,surprise ( I do build to high standard ) the little airtight stove ( with a little help from the e-heat ) managed to keep the house livable despite a couple days of single digit temps ) so actually as much as I would like to do it , it makes little sense for me .I hope I didnt get too far off of subject ,but thanks for the encouragement – Kevin

          • Antony Berretti

            Doing DIY is great and I’m glad to be one of those people who can. Your needs are limited and I would guess that in a few years a 300w panel will not cost as much as today, I’m guessing $190 at your end. Soon that will drop and it does help to offset some energy production and useful for power cuts. Keep going and keep doing your own stuff.

          • kevin mccune

            Thank you , I will . When my paradigm shifts ,who knows , I may go off the grid completely . Right now due to obligations its very improbable ,lets hope a JP Morgan doesn’t step up and buy up all the affordable solar things (unlikely )

        • kevin mccune

          You do know where they store their high level waste ?

  • Gnällgubben

    Oil is never going down to $10, most oil sources cannot handle a price less than $30/barrel, many need at least $40-$50 to breakeven. If the price of oil drops that significantly they will simply stop producing.

    • Steve Hanley

      Yay! : – )

    • darth

      But with the much lower demand coming with EV adoption, that will happen anyway. Time for oil to follow coal into bankruptcy court and the history books.