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IERE

From the Advising Chair Emeritus

Advising Chair Emeritus
Mr. Roger Ballay
(France)

Dear colleagues,

I would like to take advantage of this address, to tell you why it is so interesting to be an IERE member. Our industry is at the crossroads. Several factors are playing jointly to prompt to a substantial change of the energy mix. On the supply side, tensions on the primary energy market due to the perspective of oil depletion and to local mismatch demand-offer induce a fierce competition to secure the long term access to these vital resources. Of course, the deployment of shale gas technology is providing some release in the USA and there is no doubt that this emerging option will have a great influence on the way electricity is going to be generated in a near future. However, it still requires significant extra R&D to make it cleaner and more widely accepted. In the aftermaths of the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe citizens have lost trust in their technology leaders and energy policy-makers. As a consequence, responding to their public opinion, several countries have drastically revisited their energy policy, sometimes voting a sudden phasing-out of their nuclear fleet and banning nuclear for ever. At the moment, what will be the future of this generation type remains a matter of controversy. Anyhow, this event has put a crude light on the crucial technology challenge facing the organizations committed to the nuclear risk management and mitigation and calls for an increased international cooperation on such high stake issues.

In the meantime, climatologists are sending us red blinking warnings about global warming records. This underscores the pressing need for low-carbon electricity including cheaper renewable sources and more efficient and cleaner coal plants which remain the "draught horse" of electricity generation. Moreover, on the demand side, a new vision of the power system design and management is emerging which requires a great deal of technology development to make the distribution grid smarter enough to optimize the demand and to deal with the intermittence of renewable sources.
These are some of the heavy trends and challenges well known of each of us that put our industry under pressure. These constraints apply everywhere with some modulation of their degree of acuity. To deal with them, it is commonly admitted that R&D is the most relevant lever to handle. To meet the challenge involved, how should we proceed? I do believe that increased complexity, uncertainty, ever more pressing urgency, global dimension of the issues involved that create interrelated risks are characteristics that justify combining efforts and talents.
In this context, IERE is an ideal platform to address the critical issues facing us. It provides Utilities, OEM, Research Centers with an adequate framework for making the cross-fertilization happen. Typically, smarter technology watch and exchange of best practices among early adopters should secure companies in their technology selection and deployment. We also expect to improve the cost- effectiveness of their R&D investments by fostering collaborative research through the "R&D project Working Group". The Board of IERE is continuously pursuing the objective of delivering value added services to the members and is determined to re-orient its strategy in the aim of enhancing the support to their technology management policy. As Advisor Chair Emeritus, I am honored and committed to cooperate with IERE on this exciting mission.

With my best wishes,