“The promise of quasi-infinite and free energy is here.”

—  Thierry Lepercq, head of research, technology and innovation for Engie SA


Lepercq 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. He also predicts that crude 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. Solar, battery storage, electrical and hydrogen vehicles, and connected devices are in a ‘J’ curve. Hydrogen is the missing link in a 100 percent renewable energy system, but technological bricks already exist.”  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.”

Engie was once the natural gas monopoly holder in France. Over the past decade, it has invested in renewables while selling off coal fired plants. It is now the world’s largest non-state owned power producer with operations around the globe. 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.