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L’énergie dans le développement de la Nouvelle-Calédonie

Yves Le Bars
Elsa Faugère
Philippe Menanteau
et al.

Energy management: a major challenge for New Caledonia’s sustainable development and its energy security

Energy management in the transport sector

Texte intégral

1In oil-importing countries, like New Caledonia, erratic increases in the price of fuel greatly affect the profitability of business in this sector, in particular airlines and haulage companies, and the travel patterns of households. In mainland France, the “oil crisis” of 2008 was followed by a reduction in fuel consumption by cars of 12 % over the following months.

2Transport is also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and, in many countries its contribution is increasing faster than that of the other main sectors of the economy. In mainland France, transport is responsible for a little over a quarter of emissions (largely because of the road transport of goods), excluding international air transport and shipping. International agreements for managing greenhouse gas emissions are therefore forcing each signatory country to take measures to reduce this contribution.


3In New Caledonia, all modes of transport make use of imported petroleum. According to the DIMENC, they consume approximately a quarter of imported petroleum products in terms of weight and a little more in terms of value. This is the second highest area of consumption behind electricity generation (which alone represents half the total) and ahead of industry.

4What proportion of this consumption can be attributed to the various modes of transport? In terms of petrol, which is almost exclusively used by cars, and heavy fuel oil, which is only used by ships/boats, the allocation of oil tonnages to modes of transport does not pose a problem. Things are different for diesel and kerosene, which are also used by various modes of transport as well as outside this sector. Diesel is actually used by households that own diesel cars, as well as by the haulage sector, public transport, industry and the fishing sector for its boats. As elsewhere, it is road transport that is the largest consumer of petroleum, but use by air transport and shipping is also considerable because of the island’s remoteness.

Energy consumption by the road transport sector is rising rapidly

  • 1 According to the ISEE Economic and Social Audit 2003, p. 52 and the ISEE Economic and Social Audit (...)

5Firstly, it is noticeable that sales of new cars have risen, with a sharp increase in sales of pick-ups and vans since 2003. This increase can generally be explained by the rise in per capita income, which rose from 2 % per annum in 2000-2002 to 4 % in 2003-2008, and by measures put in place by the government to promote road safety, which have doubtless been behind purchases of large vehicles. Beyond the enthusiasm of New Caledonians for this type of vehicle and the windfall effect, the origins of this trend also lie in investments in vehicles in connection with large mining projects. This rise in sales naturally translates into an increase in the number of vehicles on the road, which witnessed a sharp annual average rise of 5.1 % between 2000 and 20051.

6Unlike the situation in mainland France, where total fuel consumption by cars has been falling for a number of years, because of the increased energy efficiency of vehicles and stagnation in the number of cars on the road, in New Caledonia it is rising rapidly because of a rise in the number of cars on the road, an increase in the power of vehicles and their use and the widespread availability of on-board air-conditioning.

7Here, there is a contradiction between the information we have received: in effect, the DIMENC produced an energy audit, which showed that, following interrupted growth of 3 % per annum between 1995 and 2004, energy consumption by transport is supposed to have fallen from 2005 onwards, from 231 to the equivalent of 201 thousand tonnes of petroleum between 2004 and 2007, a fall of 13 %. This is an important point as it should demonstrate that the demand for fuel from the transport sector is extremely price-sensitive.

8However, doubt can be cast on these results because, despite the change in prices, fuel imports did not fall over the period – quite the opposite! Petrol imports stagnated throughout the entire period and were at the same level in 2007 as in 2004; on the other hand, diesel imports rose by 30 % between 2004 and 2007. This diesel is certainly not all consumed by road vehicles, but for both of these two fuels, there appears to be a clear correlation between the rise in consumption and an increase in the number of vehicles on the road.

9In effect, in five years the number of diesel vehicles rose by 56 %: it is therefore hard to see how diesel consumption may have fallen… In a general manner, it is noticeable that raw data for the transport sector is often scarce and extremely partial. Transformed data is interesting, but is still weak and occasionally contradictory. We therefore believe it is important, for the sake of well-informed transport energy policy, to implement methods for monitoring fuel consumption by different modes of transport more closely.

  • 2 Source: calculation by the author based on the INSEE-ISEE Population Census for New Caledonia 2004, (...)

10Household car ownership provides a real key to understanding and predicting energy consumption by the transport sector. With 75 % of households owning at least one car, New Caledonia has reached a relatively high level for an insular economy (63 % in the French Antilles), which is close to the levels in mainland France (81 %). With one notable difference: while in France, car ownership is lower in cities and distinctly higher in rural areas, in New Caledonia the situation is completely reversed. The level of car ownership in Greater Nouméa is 84 %, while it is only 55 % in the rest of New Caledonia2. Moreover, unlike in mainland France, in New Caledonia, sustained population growth (2 % per annum) and the age pyramid will not help to slow the increase in the number of cars on the road.

11The haulage sector is doubtless far more dependent on the economic situation: its growth is twice as fast as that of sales of cars and pick-ups, but is far more irregular, doubtless related to economic cycles. In future, it would be interesting to be able to separate energy consumption by haulage operations transporting ore from haulage operations relating to other economic activities, as the opportunities for saving energy or substitution doubtless differ for these two markets.

Energy consumption by domestic air transport: unusual data, which can be explained by the situation in New Caledonia

12Domestic air traffic is unusually high in New Caledonia. It can be explained, in part, by the distance between the islands and the low population density. Curiously, available data reveals a very low increase in domestic passenger traffic (1 % per annum on average since 1995, a level equal to that of population growth on the islands), while per capita income has increased and international traffic has risen at a far higher rate (an annual average of close to 3 %). An explanation may possibly lie in prices: ticket prices for domestic flights have increased significantly, at an annual rate of 2 % to 3 % in real terms, depending on the destination, while over the same period, the prices of international flights have remained stable or fallen in real terms.

13Air freight demonstrates a considerable imbalance: the tonnages leaving Nouméa are more than three times higher than the tonnages coming in. Transporting goods by plane uses far more energy than by boat and costs more. This is why this type of transport is generally reserved for goods whose value declines rapidly over time or for which the need is urgent and unexpected. According to our information, domestic air freight to the islands broadly defies these two principles and the goods transported are, mainly, no different to those usually transported by boat.

14Explaining these distinctive features is a prerequisite for any policy aiming to reduce energy consumption in the New Caledonian air transport sector, as they doubtless meet certain social and political objectives, such as the need to guarantee “territorial continuity”. In themselves, these are perfectly legitimate objectives, but they must give rise to periodic re-evaluations in order to ensure that have not become obsolete, and that the methods chosen for achieving them have not become irrelevant.

Energy consumption by shipping: a more in-depth understanding would be needed

15We have no detailed information regarding the distribution of energy consumption by shipping based on destination – international shipping, domestic shipping, ore, goods, etc. Although the prospects for saving energy in this sector are limited and, for the most part, outside the reach of the regulatory authorities in the area in question, a more in-depth understanding of the sector would at least enable the potential for modal transfer, for example from air or road transport to shipping and, within the same sector, the possibilities for rationalising and managing energy, to be evaluated.


A reduction in the dependence on oil

16The desire to manage energy in the transport sector only really emerged as a result of the oil crisis in 1974. For importing countries, it was really a question of reducing their dependence. A number of emergency measures were implemented, including limiting the speed on motorways in France and the United States, and major programmes were launched, including the Proáálcol programme in Brazil and the Cafe programme in the United States.

17The Proáálcol programme in Brazil aimed to produce ethanol from sugar cane for cars. It initially produced anhydrous ethanol, which could be added to petrol up to a proportion of 20 % without the need to modify engines. Following the second oil crisis in 1981, Proáálcol II considerably increased the stakes by setting itself the target of completely replacing petrol. At that time, its focus was hydrated ethanol, which required a redeployment of the national car industry, the establishment of a complete distribution network for the new fuel, the cultivation of vast expanses of land and investment in enormous distilleries.

18The American Cafe programme (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) required car manufacturers to ensure that the harmonic mean of their vehicles’ consumption (in miles per gallon) weighted by sales complied with a standard, which was tightened every year in accordance with a pre-established timetable. A penalty of 5.5 dollars for each car sold and each tenth of a mile per gallon shortfall was applied. The programme has been effective, as new cars sold in 1989 consumed almost half the fuel consumed by 1975 models. However, for all kinds of reasons, the programme was frozen in 1989.

19Improving public transport services has also emerged as a way of offering an alternative to private car use and therefore of reducing the dependence on oil for transporting people. In France, this was one of the main reasons for developing the TGV network and increasing the number of tram projects in cities.

Combating the greenhouse effect

20A fall in oil prices would have rendered these policies obsolete if concern about climate change had not taken over. In countries bound by the Kyoto protocol, they are arousing renewed interest. Europe, for example, is currently imposing policies inspired by the American Cafe programme on car manufacturers; and a number of countries are now offering their farmers tax exemptions to produce biofuels, thirty years after Brazil.

21The vast range of political instruments designed to combat the green-house effect in the transport sector differs radically from those used to reduce oil consumption: this time, the price of fuel is no longer an external factor, but a variable that can be adjusted by imposing taxes, in order to make modes of transport that use fossil fuels less attractive. Broadly, in order to combat global warming in the transport sector, this fiscal tool actually makes all other policies redundant.

Tax on fuels

22With a carbon tax to incorporate the cost of the greenhouse effect into the price of fuels, there is no need to oblige car manufacturers to design and produce less energy-hungry cars, demand from consumers deterred by the price of fossil fuels will force them to do so. There is no need to encourage shippers to choose energy-saving modes of transport and routes, they will do it themselves, under pressure from their competitors, in order to avoid the additional cost of modes of transport that consume too much heavily taxed fossil fuel. There is no need to subsidise biomass fuels, the fact they are not subject to a carbon tax will make them sufficiently attractive.

23Although these arguments are irrefutable in the long term, in terms of transport, taxing fuels is not a cure-all for the short and medium term. In countries where, for purely budgetary reasons, car fuel is already heavily taxed, a genuine carbon tax – i.e. a tax that applies at the same rate to all fossil fuels – will only have a minor effect on the price of petrol and an enormous effect on the price of coal, which is generally not taxed and is even subsidised on occasions.

24On the other hand, the carbon tax does not affect all of the transport sector’s contribution to the greenhouse effect. In reality, refrigerated transport and air-conditioning in cars also emit considerable quantities of green-house gases. Finally, tax on fuels used by cars is regressive: as with all taxes imposed on fuel, it affects the poor more than the rich.


25The majority of the policies outlined above are not relevant to the situation in New Caledonia. In effect, the car market is too small to impose standards on manufacturers, the production of biofuels will never be able to offer competitive prices compared to those on the international market and the use of electric vehicles can be ruled out while at least some of the electricity in New Caledonia is produced using fossil fuels.

26In order to protect itself from fluctuating oil prices and to reduce the contribution of its transport to the greenhouse effect, New Caledonia can therefore only rationalise its transport system by turning to less energy-hungry vehicles, using them in the most efficient way and reducing its transport needs.

A carbon tax on fuels?

27The smartest way of achieving these objectives is, naturally, to encourage everyone involved in the sector to reduce their direct or indirect consumption of petroleum products. With this aim in mind, the best incentive is price, i.e. a carbon tax, accompanied by information designed to help everyone involved to become aware of the effect of the cost of fuel on their budget and to pro-vide them with ways of enabling them to reduce their consumption.

28What should the rate of such a tax be and should it be the same for all fossil fuels? Should certain business sectors be exempt? Should there be some way of making up for its effect on the budgets of the poorest households?

29In principle, the rate for a carbon tax on fossil fuels is based on their harmfulness to the climate; harmfulness that is proportional to their carbon content. The rate should therefore be determined on an international level, as a litre of petrol has the same effect on the climate whether it is used in a traffic jam in New York, during a trans-Saharan rally or on the streets of Nouméa.

30However, unfortunately this type of standardisation is not on the agenda, whereas convergence between the various systems that are being put in place in Europe and the United State is likely (a tax or system of auctioning licences to emit greenhouse gases). The tax rate or cost of an emissions licence could come close to 100 euros per tonne of CO2 by 2030 (almost 30 euros per tonne of CO2 today and between 150 and 350 euros in 2050).

31If New Caledonia were to apply a carbon tax of 30 euros per tonne of CO2, this would equate to a carbon tax of 9 and 10 F CFP on a litre of petrol and a litre of diesel respectively. The resulting increase in the selling price, of the order of 6 %, could be compared to the enormous fluctuation in price that accompanied the oil price explosion of last year: in less than a year, between May 2008 and March 2009, the price of diesel initially rose by 33 F CFP and then fell by 52 F CFP. In order to follow the European scenario, carbon tax on fuel in New Caledonia could gradually reach around 30 F CFP by 2030.

32Should this rate be the same for all fossil fuels? Logically yes, this is the principle behind and the justification for a carbon tax, but it should be noted that the effect of this tax will be a doubling in the price of imported coal. Therefore, we can begin to question the impact of such a tax on the metal industry and, beyond that, on New Caledonia’s balance of trade (but this kind of issue exceeds the remit of our contribution).

33What would the effect of a carbon tax be on the consumption of auto-motive fuel by households, and what would its redistributive effect be? It has been shown that in mainland France, this tax has a greater effect on the poorest households, but there is no certainty that this will be the case in New Caledonia. Information on consumption by households in New Caledonia, by income category, which the ISEE is currently compiling, will enable the effect of such a tax on households to be measured, depending on their income, location and level of car ownership. Should this information reveal that the effects of the carbon tax on the poorest households are too regressive, specific compensatory measures could be implemented.

Figure 4. The correlation between price (F CFP) and quantity (m3) in relation to the monthly demand for fuel for the period 2007-2008
Source: calculations by the author on the basis of sales data for service stations supplied by the DIMENC.

34The recent considerable fluctuation in fuel prices at the pump should enable the short term elasticity of demand for petrol and diesel to be evaluated. We have already carried out this evaluation on the basis of monthly data relating to fuel sales in service stations, which is available for the past two years. The results, which are illustrated in the two graphs are, at the very least, surprising: they show that petrol consumption has fluctuated in a way that is completely independent of price (determination coefficient R2 = 0.00) and that diesel consumption has actually tended to increase when prices rise. Although the correlation is not very strong, it is significant (determination coefficient R2 = 0.55).

35How can this paradoxical result, which is vastly different from the phenomenon witnessed in mainland France for the same period, be explained? Some of the explanation doubtless stems from the fact that, unlike in main-land France, there is no real alternative to the car for the majority of people’s journeys, and no real alternative to the road for the bulk of goods transport. As for the paradoxical changes in diesel consumption, these may stem, to a certain extent, from goods transport (however, because of a lack of separate data for consumption and traffic measurements relating to industrial activities, we are not able to assess this effect).

36The fact the demand for fuel is inelastic in the short term does not necessarily mean that it will be in the long term too. Like all excise duties, and unlike proportional taxes, such as VAT, the effect of a carbon tax is to dampen fluctuations in fuel prices and, because it is indexed, to send out a coherent signal in the long term. On condition that they are well informed about the importance of fuel expenditure in their budgets and ways of reducing it, New Caledonians will change their behaviour by making greater use of public transport, provided it is more practical and comfortable, and by choosing more economical vehicles when the time comes to replace them.


37In the majority of member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), there is a tax on vehicle ownership, similar to the former “tax disc” and, almost everywhere, this tax has been modified more or less recently to take account of the environmental impact of the particular vehicle. It has even become a future obligation within the European Union. The majority of countries also apply a purchase tax (or a bonus/penalty system), which is directly or indirectly related to the vehicle’s potential contribution to the greenhouse effect.

38In completely the opposite direction, New Caledonia has recently abolished the tax disc and granted a significant tax reduction on purchases of a certain type of 4x4 vehicles, which are enormous contributors to the green-house effect. A specific study into the ownership and use of cars on the road should enable this perverse effect to be measured and should provide useful information for shaping political instruments, which are better designed to achieve the objectives initially anticipated by this tax exemption policy.

39Questions may also be posed regarding the economic justification for the different tax systems applicable to diesel and petrol. In the United States, diesel is 10 % - 20 % more heavily taxed than petrol. In Europe it’s the reverse, petrol is more heavily taxed than diesel. The average difference is 32 %, but it varies from 0 % in the United Kingdom to 86 % in Belgium, while in New Caledonia the difference in favour of diesel is 132 %.

Alternative solutions in the form of additional measures

40Dissuading people from using cars by taxing fuel and preventing households from owning numerous cars by taxing vehicle ownership will meet with far less resistance as alternative solutions are made more attractive. The recommendations contained in the Plan de Déplacement de l’Agglomération Nouméenne (PDAN or Transport Plan for Nouméa and the surrounding area) represent a step in this direction, and include an improvement in public transport services, the creation of cycle paths, etc. Nevertheless, more will doubtless need to be done, in order for drivers to agree to occasionally leave their cars at home and opt for public transport. Their level of comfort will need to be improved: plans for installing air-conditioning on buses in Nouméa will certainly help and the results of this operation in terms of greenhouse gas emissions will be far less negative if it succeeds in attracting people to public transport who would otherwise have used their cars.

41In New Caledonia, there is a sector whose full potential is perhaps not fully exploited; private hire vehicles (PHV). At present, their market is principally school transport, but they could doubtless do much more as, unlike taxis, their prices are unrestricted and probably closer to their actual costs. These costs could be substantially lowered by reducing dead time between journeys, which could result from the use of the combined technologies of IT, GPS location/tracking and GPRS communication, which now cost very little.

42In the majority of OECD countries, this sector, which is distinguished from the taxi sector by its obligation to only respond to requests received by telephone, is more and more frequently being asked to provide a complementary service to that of large capacity public transport services, particularly at off-peak times, in thinly populated areas or even when a better door-to-door service is a necessity. It also plays a key role in “company transport plans”; systems by means of which companies encourage their employees to leave their cars at home when they come to work. There would be a significant interest in conducting a specific study to examine how these experiences could be adapted to suit New Caledonia by making full use of the potential of private hire vehicles.

The issue of air-conditioning

43Refrigerated transport and air-conditioning in vehicles have a particularly negative effect on the climate, not only because they increase fuel consumption, but also because they emit greenhouse gases with an extremely pronounced effect. In order to reduce this pollution, existing regulations could be reinforced and, above all, implemented in a controlled manner. An information campaign could also be aimed at the public, who are often not aware of the costs of using the air-conditioning in their vehicles and, to an even lesser extent, the impact of poor maintenance on the greenhouse effect.

Electric cars ultimately?

44Policies designed to combat the greenhouse effect of transport appear to promise a future for electric cars, because of the advantages in terms of reducing local pollution and anticipated progress in terms of batteries. The principal limit on their development is their low operating range, a limit that is not an obstacle in small countries confined within their own borders. This is no doubt why an ambitious project involving electric cars has recently been launched in Israel.

45However, as long as a significant proportion of the electricity generated in New Caledonia is fossil fuel based, the “electric car” option does not appear justifiable to us. In the longer term, it would nevertheless be possible to envisage the option, for households supplying photovoltaic electricity to the network, to be able to buy it back at a preferential rate to recharge the batteries in their electric vehicles (at home at night or at work during the day).

What about electric bicycles?

46From what we know of travel/transport habits, it appears that cycling has enormous potential for development in New Caledonia. At present, its development has been hampered by the condition of the roads, which are particularly hazardous for cyclists, and the uneven terrain - with a number of steep hills. It is possible that there is also a third obstacle: a devalued image of the bicycle as the “vehicle for poor people”. In accordance with the PDAN, we believe that the primary obstacle should be removed, as a priority, by constructing safe cycle paths. With the appropriate information campaign, this network of cycle paths should rapidly be put to good use, as recent technological progress has removed the two other obstacles. In fact, electric bicycles, which enable the rider to climb hills without any effort, have become extremely practical, with an investment cost that is two or three times lower than that of a standard scooter, and an operating cost that is negligible compared to that of a car. The electric bicycle is, at least for the time being, a product that is promoted on the basis of its high-tech and ecological connotations, even more so if the bike’s battery is recharged via a photovoltaic panel.

Biofuels, an option to be examined on a case by case basis

47In the transport sector, it is impossible to evaluate the benefit of biofuels in general. In fact, there is a need for as many economic analyses as there are biofuels that can be used for transport. Some of them, like ethanol, can be substituted for petrol; others, like vegetable oils, are a replacement for diesel. Still others, such as anhydrous ethanol, can be mixed with oil-based fuel at the refinery, and finally, those like hydrated ethanol are not mixed and require a specific distribution channel for service stations.

48Nevertheless, this option cannot be ruled out for transport in New Caledonia out of hand, but it should form the subject of an examination on a case by case basis, based on the types of production systems that may emerge and on the arrival of new vehicle models on the international market (for example, “flexifuel” vehicles, which are becoming widespread in Brazil and are replacing the pure ethanol cars that the country has stopped producing). The technical aspects of the issue of local biofuel production will be covered in the second section of this document.

49The fact should nevertheless be borne in mind that the international bio-fuel market is starting to grow. It is a market where suppliers benefit from comparative advantages (large scale production, extremely cheap labour, vast stretches of agricultural land) that New Caledonia does not have. From a strictly economic point of view, importing will probably be more appropriate than producing locally. Importing will also be the right option from the point of view of greenhouse gas emissions, as the energy efficiency of large scale production will probably make up for the energy consumption of shipping bringing the biofuel to New Caledonia.

50However, if a decision is taken to subsidise local production or even if biofuel is imported at a cost that is not much lower than petrol or diesel, it will be necessary to subsidise car drivers and hauliers in order for them to make the effort to change their habits. For the treasury, there will be a double loss, as it will also lose the tax revenue generated by oil-based fuels.


51In the transport sector, energy policy is aiming to deal with two issues: the instability of fuel prices and worsening of the greenhouse effect. These two issues are all the more significant in New Caledonia, as all the energy currently used for transport is oil based.

52Despite the fragility and imprecision of available data, it is possible to estimate that fuel consumption by transport has experienced rapid growth over recent years and that this is not likely to slow down unless measures are taken to mitigate the effects of past mistakes and to redirect individuals’ and institutions’ choices towards less energy-hungry modes of transport.

53Unfortunately, the range of political instruments available to New Caledonia is not great. We believe that an initial measure must relate to rationalising (and increasing) taxes on fuel and on vehicles, but, additional measures appear vital to us, in particular those recommended by the PDAN: cycle paths, improved public transport services, etc.

54Specific studies must also be carried out to examine the economic and social viability of policies, including modal transfer from planes to boats or the removal of constraints on private hire vehicles (PHV). Finally, improved management of urban expansion cannot fail to reinforce the effects of the PDAN.


55For details of the recommendations outlined below, the reader should refer to the pages of recommendations appearing at the end of the summary, following the section entitled “Conclusions and recommendations”.

Managing energy consumption: considerable savings are possible in all sectors

56The preoccupation with managing energy consumption has become widespread, with a growing awareness of the limits and increasing cost of fossil fuel resources, and with the need to combat climate change caused by emissions of greenhouse gases.

57A reduction in energy consumption is possible in all sectors in New Caledonia. In addition to its financial cost, this reduction assumes sweeping changes in terms of modes of production, construction and consumption.

  • In the residential sector, because of its climatic conditions, New Caledonia could rid itself of the majority of its air-conditioning expenditure in new buildings, on condition that certain rules are obeyed. In the tertiary sector, air-conditioning costs could be considerably reduced by managing climatic and internal inputs. Regulations governing household equipment would specifically enable significant savings to be made. As a commitment has been made in mainland France in this respect, a target should be set for energy consumption per m2, by going as far as constructing energy positive buildings.

Resulting in the following recommendations:

1. Encourage action on energy management in the building and household equipment sectors.

2. Adopt thermal regulations in the tertiary sector and for new and existing housing, and make it a priority to develop solar power wherever there is a demand for hot water.

  • In the transport sector, practices do not include saving energy. Improving public transport, a policy of encouraging the use of bicycles and appropriate town planning would result in substantial savings. The rational isation of ore transport is clearly guaranteed, thanks to coastal shipping, but the transport of bulk goods to the islands needs to be re-examined.

Resulting in the following recommendations:

3. Carry out studies to improve knowledge of the transport sector.

4. Abolish tax imbalances, which affect the choices of car drivers, impose a carbon tax and a car tax system based on fuel consumption.

5. Implement proposals from the Plan de déplacement urbain (PDU or UrbanTransport Plan) for Nouméa in terms of transport.

  • In the industrial sector, the energy efficiency of New Caledonian indus-trial systems must be considerably improved in order to reduce the energy costs of end products as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

As regards the generation of electrical energy, management of existing thermal power stations should be viewed as a whole. With the power station at Prony and the future power station at Doniambo, the electrical power available must be able to meet energy demand at all times. Intelligent IT tools must be developed to anticipate and meet peak demand, in order to avoid the need to make use of low efficiency systems. This software must also manage and optimise the use of renewable energies (biomass, green waste, incineration waste) for heat generation, taking account of the fluidity (changes in the available power without any significant loss of efficiency), flexibility (fuel changes) and response times of units.

Within the pyrometallurgical process, efforts should be made to generate savings and recover energy throughout the nickel production process, to reduce and recycle lost heat, by assessing the benefit of using new and more efficient elements (increased thermal insulation, optimised motors, appropriate lighting, etc.). A fall in the price of nickel should provide the opportunity to reduce energy consumption, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower the cost of the end product, resulting in improved competitiveness and employment prospects.

According to figures supplied by Goro Nickel consumption per tonne of nickel produced using the hydrometallurgical process is lower by around 75 %.,

Resulting in the following recommendation:

6. Improve the energy efficiency of industrial processes.

  • Finally, in terms of the knowledge of practices and appropriation, two across-the-board sociological type recommendations are put forward:

7. Make end users (the general public, companies) aware of energy and climate related challenges and convince them of their importance.

8. Carry out qualitative socio-anthropological type studies in order to gain a view and an in-depth understanding of New Caledonians’ attitudes and practices in terms of energy.


1 According to the ISEE Economic and Social Audit 2003, p. 52 and the ISEE Economic and Social Audit 2006, p. 57.

2 Source: calculation by the author based on the INSEE-ISEE Population Census for New Caledonia 2004, “Ordinary households based on ownership of vehicles and boats by town/village and province of residence.”

Table des illustrations

Légende Figure 4. The correlation between price (F CFP) and quantity (m3) in relation to the monthly demand for fuel for the period 2007-2008Source: calculations by the author on the basis of sales data for service stations supplied by the DIMENC.
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