Energy challenges

L’énergie, question centrale de nos sociétés, interroge chacun d’entre nous sur ses pratiques, ses convictions, sa responsabilité. Par une approche ludique, l’exposition invite les visiteurs à explorer les différents types d’énergie et à s’interroger sur notre mode de vie.

According to the International Energy Agency, by 2050 the world’s energy consumption will have risen by 150%. The main causes will be the increase in the world’s population to 9 billion and the high growth rate of developing countries.

Energy has become a major economic and environmental issue for the entire planet. Today, 80% of the world’s energy is obtained from coal, natural gas and oil. Greenhouse gases emitted by these fossil fuels contribute to global warming. The transition to more environmentally friendly sources of energy is occurring very slowly. Only 13% of the world’s energy is produced from sustainable sources. Over the last 40 years, many wind, wave, hydro, solar and geothermal power plants have been built, but the proportion of renewable energies has not increased.

P1.4 image 2
P1.4 image 1
P1.4 image 3
The five types of renewable energy

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is considered a renewable energy because of the enormous amount of heat produced by Earth’s volcanism and natural radioactivity. In Europe, geothermal energy is the third largest source of renewable energy and France is playing a leading role in the development of this resource.


In December 2011, France had almost 4000 wind turbines with a total installed power of 6.6 GW. This is 1.7% of the country’s energy production. Today, a single 2 MW wind turbine can produce enough electricity to supply the annual needs, including heating, of 2000 people.


Hydropower, which uses the driving force of water, is the world’s largest source of electricity after coal and gas. Hydroelectricity dams and wave power plants provide 12% of France’s electricity, that is, 2.8% of the country’s total energy needs.


The solar energy that reaches the surface of the Earth is the equivalent of 10,000 times world energy consumption. Today, thermal solar panels (store heat) have attained an efficiency of around 80%, whereas the efficiency of photovoltaic cells (produce electricity) is about 20%.


Energy produced from biomass, that is, all regenerating natural materials, is the least well-known form of renewable energy. However, it accounts for 46% of the renewable energy produced in France. Wood is burnt to produce heat, and vegetable waste is turned into gas, via the methanisation process, or into biofuel to power vehicles.

The energy challenge in the Tarentaise

The area’s Climate Energy Plan

The Pays de Tarentaise Vanoise Assembly, in partnership with the Vanoise National Park, has introduced a local strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Based on a detailed analysis of local energy consumption and the area’s ability to adapt to the challenge of climate change, an ambitious “Territorial Climate Energy Plan” has been launched. This plan includes increasing the use of renewable energies, improving building energy performance, encouraging “ecomobility” and raising public awareness of climate change. The area’s goal is to get as many people involved as possible: local authorities, companies, local people – everyone has a role to play.

What does one tonne CO2 equivalent represent?

 CO2 equivalent is a unit of measure used to compare greenhouse gas emissions from different human activities. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the six greenhouse gases. It accounts for ¾ of emissions.

One tonne CO2 equivalent represents:
■700 kg of paper
■40 kg of beef
■4,000 baguettes
■7,800 km by car
■26 round trips from Marseille to Paris by TGV train, that is 44,900 km per traveller
■3 round trips from Marseille to Paris by plane, that is 3900 km per traveller

Key figures for Tarentaise – Vanoise

Emissions in 2012: 2,504,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent

•Transport: 49.4% of emissions
•Public infrastructure (roads, rail, waste management, ski areas): 10.3%
•Purchase of consumer goods and imports of goods: 13.7%
•Housing: 7.7%
•Industry: 7.1%
•Food: 5.5%
•Agriculture and forestry: 3.3%
•Tertiary activities: 2.9%