French utility ENGIE posts loss, but keeps eye on low-carbon ball

Nearly a dozen "significant" events for the company were in the renewable energy sector.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   March 2, 2017 at 6:28 AM
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March 2 (UPI) -- French energy company ENGIE said it was standing by an agenda of agility and leanness after reporting revenues declined 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter.

The company posted a net loss of $421.3 million in the fourth quarter and a decline in revenues as lower energy prices across the European continent ding the utility company. CEO Isabelle Kocher said the company is ahead of the game in terms of disposing assets, while sharpening its focus on natural gas and other low-carbon solutions. New growth, she said, will come from a performance plan that envisions a leaner ENGIE.

"All these levers confirm our 2018 objective: become a more agile, less carbonized and low-risk profile group, to be the leader of the energy transition in the world," she said in a statement.

As a member of the European Union, France is obligated to build a stronger renewable energy footprint and boasts one of the least carbonized electricity sectors in the region. The country has a goal of using renewable energy to satisfy about a quarter of its energy consumption through renewable energy by the end of the decade and establish itself as a regional leader in wind power technology. ENGIE counts an installed wind power capacity of more than 1,700 megawatts in France.

Elsewhere, the company is leading efforts on diversifying fuel options through the use of liquefied natural gas. In February, ENGIE took delivery of the first-ever bunkering vessel powered by liquefied natural gas.

Bunkering is the ship-to-ship transfer of fuel. ENGIE said the vessel, christened Zeebrugge after its home port, will run on LNG and supply LNG as a marine fuel to vessels operating in northern European waters.

Despite the loss for the quarter, the company highlighted several "significant" events in its transition efforts. Three involved the sale or closure of coal-fired power plants, while the majority of the rest focused on wind and solar power developments.

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