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02/04/2024 News

Renewable energies: architects of hybrid low-carbon projects in Pau

  • TotalEnergies is transforming and fast-tracking the implementation of a diversified energy mix, in which solar and wind play a major role.
  • To increase the share of renewables, the Company is developing hybrid solutions. Teams are tasked with orchestrating the life cycle of low-carbon electric projects.
  • Based at the CSTJF in Pau, the "hybrid, thermal and storage architect" engineers have a role to play at each stage of the process – from the feasibility studies to the final investment decision.


What are the missions of the "Hybrid, thermal & storage" architects?

They are engineers working as part of a team whose members are located on different sites, including Paris, Lyon, Le Havre, and Pau since September 1, 2023. What is their mission? To contribute to the successful development of low-carbon electric projects:  solar farms, onshore and offshore wind farms, hydroelectric projects, high-yield gas-fired power plants, battery-based energy storage systems, and hybrid solutions combining all of these technologies on the same site.

Architects monitor the entire life cycle of the projects, from the feasibility studies through the design stage to the final investment decision. They are in charge of coordinating the technical specialists called in to work on the project and are responsible for the technical quality of the studies.

As part of the development of renewable energy projects, architects play a key role: they assess the renewable energy potential of the site selected and design electrical generation systems integrating different energy sources, such as renewables (solar and wind), conventional (gas turbines), and batteries. They also study the viability of projects, considering the local regulatory constraints, land availability, and the connection points to the electrical grid. Another of their remits is to estimate the reduction of CO₂ emissions. Evaluating the investment costs and operating costs, including the repowering potential of the batteries, is a fundamental step to ensure the financial viability of the project.

Abroad, in partnership with TotalEnergies’ affiliates, architects also work on the projects’ contractual aspects, particularly by analyzing the different possible contractual schemes, preparing the contracts’ technical appendices, and consulting and negotiating with the subcontractors/EPCs in preparation for project execution. With their technical skills and contractual expertise, they are therefore key players in the realization of renewable energy projects.


Focusing on synergies between competencies

"The originality of the hybrid, thermal and storage sector lies in the wide range of topics we address: by definition, hybridization combines several types of energies, and there are an infinite number of possible combinations depending on the project. Because it’s so varied, we work with specialists from very different backgrounds, and we can be creative and innovative: we never get bored in hybrid, thermal & storage architecture!" explains Pierre-Olivier Lys, one of the architects on the team.

And the hybrid, thermal & storage architects themselves all have very different backgrounds. Some have spent their careers in geosciences, petroleum architecture, operations, R&D, projects, or technical specialties, and others have worked exclusively in renewable energies. They have between 10 and 15 years’ experience and have a close working relationship with the technology experts at the CSTJF (and other sites) meaning that they know where to look to find "the right people" for each project. Their knowledge of the competencies available inhouse is a real plus point for optimizing development studies.

"TotalEnergies’ objective is to produce more than 100 TWh of electricity per year by 2030. According to the IEA’s¹ Net Zero scenario, the share of green energies in the global energy mix should considerably increase, from 16% in 2020 to 29% in 2030, and 64% in 2050. Renewable and transition energies, natural gas in particular, will play a decisive role in meeting the growing electricity demand worldwide and curbing global warming. Contributing to this major transformation of the Company and to one of the major challenges facing our society is a source of pride and motivation for the whole team," continues Julien Lelaurin, also a Hybrid, thermal & storage architect.
The projects in progress include a solar plant of more than 8 GW coupled with a battery farm of around 15 GWh in Singapore, major hybrid projects in South Africa, Morocco, Australia and the United Kingdom, stationary storage systems to help the grids integrate more renewables in Europe and the United States, and an assessment of the decarbonization of the Company’s power plants. The architects also use their competencies to ensure the operational efficiency of TotalEnergies’ sites, where energy optimization and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions are priorities. The plan is to install solar panels on oil & gas production sites to reduce fuel gas consumption, and possibly replace methane with hydrogen as a fuel.


[1] International Energy Agency