France’s seaboard regions cooperate on the marine renewable energies

20 May 2015

The collaboration between the French regions of Aquitaine, Brittany, Normandy and Pays de la Loire to accelerate the development of the marine renewable energies is now a year old. Together they have produced new proposals for the government to enhance the structure of this new industrial sector.

The presidents of the five regions (Normandy is divided into two regions) had already agreed at the 2014 Thetis business fair, held at Cherbourg, to increase cooperation between their respective regions to boost the development of the sector.

In this framework, at this year’s Thetis 2015 meeting, held in Nantes on the 20 and 21 May, Laurent Beauvais, the president of Lower Normandy, Patrick Massiot, president of the Brittany Region, Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol (Upper Normandy), Christophe Clergeau, first vice-president of the Pays de la Loire, and Renaud Legrave, vice-president of the Aquitaine Region, committed to several joint proposals to accelerate the development of the marine renewable energies.

Firstly, the simplification of procedures. In a letter addressed to the minister for ecology, sustainable development, and energy, Ségolène Royal, the five Regions emphasized the steps they have already taken, and pressed for still faster progress, notably in the publication of the regulation on the administration and time limits for appeals which were announced at the end of 2014.

Reducing commercial risk

The five regions have asked the government to enhance the profile of the various tendering processes involved in the marine renewable energies, an essential condition for encouraging the industrial firms to take on long term investments. The regions also requested that central government guarantee the purchase tariffs for electricity produced from test sites and pilot wind farms.

Finally, the grouping has proposed the adoption of the British model for the financing and performance of initial site surveys: rather than passing the costs to tendering candidates, the study is publicly funded, and its results are shared. These costs are then finally met by the successful consortium.

Unity is strength

The ensuing meetings over the past year have covered the domains of training, industrial sub-contracting, research collaboration, and the regions now have a shared database to support the development of the sector (see box).

The work continues in 2015 and beyond, in each of the regions with the aim of cataloging, in every region, the skills and knowledge which will underpin the emergence of the sector, on the way to hitting the 6GW generation target by 2020.