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Marine renewable energy: when green growth rides on blue gold

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Let it be said, when it comes to energy transition, not everything stops after COP21 in Paris! On the contrary, it all starts today. Or rather, everything is accelerating, because, although we enthusiastically welcome the tour de force of the signing of this agreement with nearly 200 countries, fortunately we did not wait for this political meeting to get down to business.
 
L’investment in new energies has never been stronger. Between 2014 and 2015, it even increased fivefold, reaching 302 billion euros. In this green whirlwind, a sector is emerging at the crossroads of the maritime and energy worlds: Renewable Marine Energies (RME).
A sector in which France today benefits from a dual potential, both geographical and industrial, and a particularly favourable context, so that, a rare occurrence, we are in a position to take off in a new sector with strong potential.

MRE, a modern adventure in the service of energy transition

The sea has always been the scene of dreams and the greatest adventures. With MREs, it now holds a new promise, at the crossroads of the economy and sustainable development: that of inventing the technologies of tomorrow, creating new sources of sustainable energy, and bringing about the emergence of an economic model that is both sustainable and eco-responsible.
 
From France to Japan via Canada and Scotland, engineers are deploying a wealth of inventiveness to find the technological innovations that will make it possible to exploit the immense energy potential of the seas. A potential that the International Energy Agency estimates at between 20,000 and 90,000 TWh (terawatt-hour energy measurement) worldwide... to be correlated with the world's annual electricity consumption, i.e. 16,000 TWh3.
 
Offshore wind power, tidal turbines, floating wind turbines, wave power, marine thermal energy, osmotics... technologies are already abundant, and while test sites, pilots and installation projects are multiplying all over the world, the International Energy Agency estimates the global potential of marine energy at 748 GW in 2050, including 188 in Europe, according to the International Energy Agency. the European Commission's roadmap.
 
In a world where fossil energy sources will inexorably dry up in the coming decades, Marine Renewable Energies are therefore without doubt a sector of the future, creating growth and sustainable jobs. According to projections, they should represent about 15 % of the European energy mix by 2025, i.e. an annual market of 15 billion euros, and a source of more than 470,000 direct and indirect jobs. by 2050according to the EU-EOA (European Ocean Energy Association). This will boost the growth of our old continent and put the sea, for once, at the heart of Europe's development.

An "alignment of planets" favourable for France to benefit from the EMR wave

France holds a special place in the prospects offered by Renewable Marine Energies. Not only does our country have more than 12 million km² of coastline, spread over its four maritime frontiers (North Sea, English Channel, Atlantic and Mediterranean and overseas), making it the second largest maritime domain in the world, but it also has port areas particularly suited to the installation of state-of-the-art industrial infrastructures. This makes our coastline a particularly attractive host for MRE players, from SMEs to industrial giants, and at the same time offers our seashores a lasting economic revitalisation.
 
Map of MRE in Brittany
 
Add to this the fact that French expertise in energy and maritime matters is recognized worldwide, and allows our engineering firms to export their know-how internationally. You can therefore understand why the French General Commission for Sustainable Development (CGDD) identified MREs as a strategic industrial sector for green growth for France as early as 2009.
 
Not to mention the fact that these natural and structural assets of our territory have been strengthened in recent years by the support mechanisms for the sector set up by the State, particularly through future investment schemes, and by the massive mobilisation of coastal regions, which are working to structure the sector.
 
These coordinated and constructive initiatives now enable France to make a significant contribution to the industrialization of MRE technologies and to the consolidation of the sector worldwide, through numerous projects for the installation of parks, pilot farms or test sites off our coasts. Six offshore wind power zones are expected to be created in the coming years, from Tréport to Ile de Noirmoutier, via Fécamp and Saint-Nazaire, while two major tidal turbine projects will be developed in parallel at Raz- Blanchard (Cotentin) and Fromveur (Finistère).
 
Moreover, thanks to our ultra-marine territories in the French Overseas Departments and Territories, we are also working on so-called less mature technologies, such as marine thermal energy and wave power, with promising developments in Martinique, Mayotte and French Polynesia, where the recently announced Climate Energy Plan gives pride of place to MRE.
 
Marine Renewable Energies appear today as a reliable, inexhaustible and decarbonated solution to face the energy challenges of tomorrow. The MRE sector is unquestionably a sector of the future at the service of the energy transition, creating growth and sustainable jobs, and this time France has all the cards in hand to play its cards right. The future is on the move!
 
Marc Lafosse, President of BlueSign, organizer of the Seanergy Convention
 
 

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