Energy-Related Consumption in France: Policy Influence, Socio-Technical Structure and the Role of Practices

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Mathieu BRUGIDOU , R&D, EDF, CLAMART, France
The issue of the public policies related to sustainable consumption changes has been recently raised in France, emphasized by the “Grenelle of the Environment”. However, since the 70s, France has faced the matter of behavioural changes in energy consumption. That is why we propose to treat the question of the behavioural changes impelled by the energy policies in France.
This analysis will be embedded in the history of the public policies (energy and other domains of consumption) and their effects on the behavioural changes.
Nowadays, the energy issue returns in top of the agenda, after having known eclipses at the end of the 70s. It is built in a context of the European energy market deregulation. The resulting policies highlight the importance of the individual behavioural change through the “consumer” representation (energy savings, smart grids, market choice of appliances, supplier choice according to the sources of energy production, etc.). The market tools are privileged, but the French State remains the dominating actor.
Within this framework, isn't the notion of the individual behaviour partly rhetoric? Indeed, other upstream factors encourage in a decisive way the levels of households’ energy consumption (e.g. offer construction, infrastructure choices, thermal regulation, at the French and European level). Moreover, the succession and the heterogeneity of the policy devices that have partly opposite objectives may lead to conflicts in norms and contradictions in the energy practices. Our analysis will be developed through examples related to “sustainable lifestyles”, such as: energy label, low consumption bulbs, carbon tax, choice of the means of transport, waste sorting and water consumption.