Energy: extinction of the dinosaurs… Petroleum Rex versus Nukeonosaurus?

The process was triggered on a large scale in the months following the Fukushima accident, with the German decision to decommission nuclear power plants. This dealt a devastating blow to the phase of excessive investment in traditional European utilities, an enthusiasm which had already cooled down considerably after the subprime crisis and the end of free CO2 allocations.  Next came the big decisions: E.on to stop using conventional thermal power, Engie to abandon its centralised, gas-based model for smaller innovation projects, Enel to resell €1.5 billion in assets…

A monumental big bang that soon attracted new players, including infrastructure investment funds. From MIRA (Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets) and GIP to First State Investment, Allianz, Ardian and Antin, among others, when it comes to funds, the European energy market is at the centre of everyone’s attention.

The movement has since gained steam as oil producers enter the fray with their appetite for eclipsing all of the Old Continent’s other energy sources. The European energy galaxy is steadily remodelling itself, with its rising stars and grey areas, seeking to rebalance power and redistribute value.

Are new energy titans emerging in France and Europe?

Emblematic of this accelerated change: the insatiable appetite of Total, which is showing a huge ambition to become a major electricity supplier, and whose CCGT production is continuously growing: over the last two years, the oil group has acquired electricity supplier Lampiris, battery manufacturer Saft, Direct Energie (2 CCGTs of approx. 400 MW each and 550 MW of renewables, plus a planned 2400 MW, and its portfolio of supply customers), Celest (2 CCGTs of approximately 410 MW each), Uniper France (2 CCGTs of approx. 420 MW each, in the process of being validated) and Engie’s upstream LNG portfolio – which, incidentally, has made Total the second-largest global player in the LNG sector! The series is still ongoing, since the group is quite open about its objective of owning 10 GW of capacities between now and 2025.

And the French oil company is no exception: the English BP is also turning towards electricity and already owns the leading network of electric vehicle recharging stations in the United Kingdom. The Repsol group is applying a similar strategy in Spain, and Shell has a budget of 2 billion dollars for new energies, 80% of which is to be invested in electricity. If these amounts remain modest next to the investment budgets of these mastodons, the ambition is enormous: becoming the leader in a related field by betting on gas, renewable energies and new technologies.

Paradigm shift: energy becomes a service.

Isn’t it a little early to forget about the major players in the European gas and electricity sector? Without any doubt. Those stars haven’t gone out yet: they’ve become more discreet, allowing themselves to reorganise and better complete their metamorphosis. E.on, RWE, Engie and their peers are redirecting their efforts towards renewables and services. By distancing themselves from their traditional activities, they are rebuilding liquidities that they plan to carry into the battle for shares in these new markets. Even EDF, despite being in a less favourable situation, is moving its own pawns forward with the Linky counter and its efforts in batteries, smart grids and new services development.

This is perhaps the keyword for this upheaval: in energy, the dimension of ‘commodities’ is fading into the background behind that of ‘services’. Electricity generation is facing the uncertainty of a market in transformation (from the ‘energy only’ model to the capacity mechanism or contracts for difference). Digital technology and the trend towards a more sustainable energy production are imposing the move from a regulated, vertical and centralised model to a distributed, horizontally-integrated model. On the other hand, services, whether they use the model of Outsourcing of Public Utilities (DSP) or that of maintenance and/or operation contracts, are showing quite some visibility and excellent growth driven by the recovering economy.

This sector’s appeal to new investors is also palpable. The mad rush has also begun as infrastructure funds spare no effort in their attempts to get their piece of the pie, and auctions are on the rise, as we have beenwitnessing during the recent shareholder changes of Coriance and IDEX, as well as for Certinenergy, Alpiq Engineering Services and Proxiserve. And the funds’ interest in services is not just about getting nearer to the end customer in order to benefit from the revolution that is underway. After an era of ever-falling interest rates that spun every investment into gold, infrastructure funds are now seeking to add value. They are transforming into partners, simultaneously managing the complexity of their targets’ activity and making strategic decisions for growth.

Can energy be reduced to services and renewables?

At a time when carbon-based energy production is being kept quiet, the question bears asking. A recent example sheds some harsh light on this point: upon withdrawing from conventional production in France, the Uniper group ended up agreeing to the takeover of its French gas power plants by Total…and the takeover of Uniper France’s coal-fired power assets by EPH, the group owned by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, who seems keen to make himself a prominent player in the takeover of ‘dirty assets. Nevertheless, Gardanne and Saint-Avold coal units are due to close in 2022, but the NegaWatt scenario in Europe is still far off…

Yet another paradox in a Continental market that’s becoming more scattered, and where there are still more questions than answers: what about the “energy only” market? Is the capacity mechanism, as the sole source of remuneration for conventional power producers, an acceptable solution? Which link in the chain will capture the greatest value? What will the pricing level be for the carbon emission quota scheme (EU-ETS) in a system that has largely turned away from carbon? What level of conventional capacities is necessary to counterbalance fatal renewables? etc.

In order to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this rapidly reorganising universe, it is crucial for organisations to be both flexible in their strategies and specific in their decisions: choosing the correct reference points, properly evaluating profitability and investment risks and, above all, not getting caught up in the prevailing trend of overestimating new options or prematurely burying ‘conventional’ energies (see our article on the resurgence of coal).

The race to reach critical mass hasn’t claimed its last victim yet…

Jean-Charles Bissié

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Each month, one of our experts publishes an article describing his view on a specific topic of the constant changes taking place in the energy market, with special focus on the French market.

Profesional Experience & Education

Diego graduated in Political Economy at King’s College University (London – 2021). He started his professional career in a family business in Madrid as an operations manager. Diego then studied a Master in Management and Master in Computer Science at IE University (Madrid – 2022), during which he participated as an Information Technology (IT) intern in a startup. In May 2023, Diego joined the HES team as an intern specialised in programming models. In his first project, he developed a software tool for modelling the unavailability of the French nuclear fleet. Afterwards, Diego has also participated in the development of new software tools for modelling price curves, generation asset performance and other topics related to the energy market. 

Diego Marroquin

Junior Consultant

Haya Energy-6

Profesional Experience

Céline joined Haya Energy Solutions in November 2021 as marketing and administration manager. She had a first professional experience in the tourism sector as a social media manager. At HES, her activities are focused on the development of the company’s visibility at European level through: commercial actions, content marketing and development of brand strategy. Céline is also involved in the management of the company’s communication: optimisation of the website (WordPress & Elementor), LinkedIn, publication of the monthly newsletter and the organisation of conferences. Céline participates in energy projects with the clients and acts as coordinator and project manager. Finally, she is in charge of administration (accounting, expenses management, invoicing).   


Céline graduated in Spanish and English Philology at La Sorbonne (France – 2018) and holds a Master’s degree in Project Management and Cultural Tourism (Clermont-Ferrand/ Buenos Aires – 2021). 

Céline Haya Sauvage

Marketing Responsible

Céline Sauvage

Investment Advice

“Decarbonization of the Energy and Transport sectors is arguably today’s main economic driver for the industry.”

Profesional Experience

His career started in civil engineering as a Project Manager in France, Martinique and Australia. Afterwards, he became the General Manager of a subsidiary in Venezuela. In 1992, he established Dalkia in Germany (district heating, cogeneration, and partnerships) and represented Véolia in Thailand. In 2000, he opened the commercial office of Endesa in France to take advantage of the liberalized retail market. From 2006, as a development Manager at Endesa France, he led Endesa’s plan for Combined Cycle generation in France and developed the wind and PV portfolio of Snet at the same time. Philippe Boulanger worked for 3 years at E.ON’s headquarters coordinating the company´s activities in France. He was strongly involved in the French hydro concession renewal project. As a Senior Vice President – Project Director at Solvay Energy Services from April 2012 to February 2014 he was in charge of the H2/Power to gas and European direct market access deployment projects. Philippe has been an HES expert since 2014.


Philippe Boulanger holds engineering degrees both from the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole Nationale des Ponts & Chaussées (France) and has a combined experience of more than 25 years in energy and infrastructure. In addition to English, Mr. Boulanger is fluent in French, German & Spanish.

Philippe Boulanger

Electricity Expert


“The world is changing. New investors pay particular attention to the energy sector while historical actors adapt their position to the market.”

Profesional Experience

Antonio started his career in the electricity sector in 1991 working as a member of the General Manager’s team at Sevillana de Electricidad (Spain). In 1997, he was appointed head of commercial regulation at Endesa Distribución. In 2000, he joined the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) department of Endesa Europe. He was appointed Managing Director of Endesa Power Trading Ltd (UK) in 2003. A year later, he became responsible for energy management at SNET (France). In 2008, he was appointed Managing Director of SNET (France). In 2009, he became Director of Corporate Development at E.ON France. In 2011, he founded Haya Energy Solutions (HES), a consulting firm focused on optimising the energy management of consumers, producers and retailers of gas and electricity. From 2015 to 2018, Antonio combined the consulting activity at HES with the general management of 2 production facilities in France (2 CCGTs x 410MW), owned by KKR. At the end of 2018, he joined Asterion Industrial Partners, an infrastructure investment fund, as an operating partner. Antonio currently devotes most of his efforts to the Asterion Portfolio, while advising through HES companies in the energy sector in France, Italy, Germany, UK and Spain. 


Antonio graduated from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros of Seville (Spain) and holds an MBA degree from Deusto University (Spain). 

Antonio Haya