General Electric’s unprecedented deal with Alstom was signed in June. In it, the American group stated its willingness to establish its global headquarters for the marine renewable energies in Bouguenais, a suburb of Nantes. The news is of vital importance for the emerging sector in the region.
The region has gained a new dimension in the marine renewables sector. As well as the Jules Verne Institute and Technocampus Océan, Bouguenais will now play host to the board and R&D activity of General Electric’s marine renewables division.
Interviewed by the regional newspaper Presse Océan, Christophe Clergeau, 1st vice-president of the Pays de la Loire, rejoiced at the decision: “This is a success that illustrates the dynamism and skills in the region. In just 3 or 4 years, thanks to the support of all of the players involved, we have built a new industrial sector […] And now with General Electric, the door is wide open to world markets. There is a very real possibility of leading Europe in the sector in a few years’ time.“
General Electric is no stranger to the region: part-owner of the Saint-Nazaire aircraft engine manufacturer Famat, it is keen to enhance its presence in Pays de la Loire, as explained by Jérôme Pécresse, the president of Alstom Renewable Power. “Several factors have played a part: the availability of land for premises, the local market established by France’s first offshore wind farm at Guérande, the highly skilled workforce, and the rich ecosystem of the research and development infrastructure. And of course, the presence of our own R&D facility in Nantes.” By 2017, the Nantes metropolitan area will be home to more than a thousand researchers devoted to the marine renewable energies.