Sabrina Peseux is manager of Bluesign which organises the international marine renewables forum Seanergy. As she helps prepare this year’s event set for 15-17 June in Le Havre, she looks back on the previous edition held in September in Nantes.
What is your assessment of last year’s Seanergy conference?
It was a great success! This is especially true as we had been forced to postpone the event twice in a row due to Covid restrictions, meaning industry stakeholders hadn’t be able to gather in person for 27 months. We saw a strong come-back with some 3,500 delegates from 30 countries. And last year’s edition featured two days of site visits, which was unusual. But this is because the Pays de la Loire has a lot to show: industrial sites, the Saint-Nazaire wind farm of course and the Sem-Rev test platform with Floatgen and Wavegem, and more.
The international turnout wasn’t as strong as in previous years owing to the Covid situation; some north Europeans were unable to travel and Asians stayed at home too. Still, delegates from 30 countries did attend, as did a number of international delegations including from Norway with the Ministry of Energy, Denmark with its ambassador, and a massive turnout of American representatives. And we hosted 230 exhibitors.
What lies behind this success in your opinion?
The industry has gone from strength to strength in the last few years and this is borne out in the event’s success. While other sectors have felt the brunt of the Covid pandemic, the marine renewables sector has actually picked up. It is riding on the highly ambitious energy transition goals set out in late 2022 across Europe and which include the development of marine renewables. In addition, French President Emmanuel Macron has recently announced the goal of an installed capacity of 40GW by 2050. All this creates a strong drive for Seanergy. In turn, the event itself acts as a growth driver for marine renewables, with its diverse formats and long line-up of talks and side-events. It’s a business accelerator, it fosters technology partnerships and it facilitates recruitment via Workinblue (the main website for marine renewables jobs – in French only).
Lastly, Seanergy’s strength also lies in the wide range of delegates. It’s a place where officials and policy makers mingle and exchange with manufacturers and academics while looking ahead to the future.
For you, what was the takeaway from this edition?
From this post-Covid edition I particularly remember how everyone enjoyed coming together, returning it to its former glory. Then there was the collaboration with the partner organisations from the Pays de la Loire. The various local authorities in the region are all keen to push ahead with developing marine renewables. We worked closely and effectively together under the auspices of Solutions&Co and Nantes Saint -Nazaire Développement. Furthermore, the region enjoys industrial facilities and major innovation hubs in the sector, providing strong impetus for local stakeholders to participate.
It was also the first time in Europe that a marine renewables event offered delegates the possibility to visit a wind farm under construction – France’s first! But what really impressed me was the great atmosphere and how everyone wanted to come together again. It’s all part of what Bluesign does best: we organise business and industry events with a friendly atmosphere. And we’re proud to have attracted international delegations just a few weeks after travel restrictions were lifted.
What does Seanergy have in store for us in Le Havre this year?
With two wind farms under construction (Courseulles-sur-Mer and Fécamp), Le Havre is also a good location for marine renewables. And there is another farm off the Cotentin peninsula under construction too, with a project call in progress. Tidal energy device projects are also being developed.
Seanergy will be back in Le Havre for the first time since 2017. The three-day conference, organised in partnership with Normandy Regional Council and Le Havre Métropole, will include one day of technical visits. The local area is also attractive for industry and home to the new Siemens-Gamesa facility that manufactures wind turbine blades – one of the rare sites to open in France. Delegate will have an opportunity to visit it.
We will keep to the same successful format for this year’s Seanergy with a pro-business approach, B-to-B meetings, a jobs area and a line-up of over 80 talks and presentations – and an even larger turnout.
Two novelties this year: exhibitors will be able to carry out dynamic and static demonstrations, and there will be an exhibition outside the forum area for the general public.
The demonstrations will allow exhibitors to promote their prototypes, boats and devices in the exhibition area, in an indoor basin or outdoors in the Paul Vatine dock. As for the general public exhibition, it will be held outside the forum and has been designed to inform people about marine renewables and how they matter today. It will also help debunk some false information out there about the sector.