energy transition
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 "Marine Energies: why France can win! « 

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Offshore wind power, tidal turbines, floating wind turbines, wave power, marine thermal energy, air conditioning, etc. Marine energy technologies have multiplied in recent years, bringing with them a whole innovative industrial sector. This sector is in the process of becoming more and more innovative, and is now entering a key phase in its structuring, with the completion of its first projects and the emergence of its first champions.
So what will France's place be in this new market? Will we be able to take advantage of the announced windfall, i.e. a world market of more than 53 billion euros per year by 2050? (1) ? One thing's for sure, today we have all the cards in hand to take to the open sea!

Our strategic asset? The duo of natural resources and technical know-how

Ot will never be repeated often enough: in the field of Marine Renewable Energy (MRE), France has a dual geographical and industrial potential that few countries in the world can claim.
Geographically speaking, with more than 11 million km² of maritime surface area, we benefit from the 2nd largest maritime domain in the world, spread over three sea fronts in the centre of Europe (English Channel-North Sea, Atlantic and Mediterranean) and a presence in all the world's oceans, thanks to the significant share of ultramarine waters. On the industrial dimension, we are recognized worldwide for our expertise in key MRE skill areas: energy, Oil & Gas, naval, composite materials and offshore installations.
Add to this the fact that we have particularly welcoming port areas that are suitable for the installation of cutting-edge industrial infrastructures, and you will understand why it is important to be optimistic about France's ability to make the most of marine energy.

Our master card? State support, through agile and efficient mechanisms

Marine energies are also a sector in which France has shown great agility, so that we now benefit from a particularly favourable institutional context, even though we have no operational facilities to date. This performance is all the more remarkable given that it is taking place in a complex political calendar, with electoral deadlines that are not usually conducive to the emergence of a consensus-based industry.
 
Thus, research and development, supported by the future-oriented investment program, has now found its stability in the service of innovative technologies and with multi-year visibility for our research laboratories. Successive calls for projects from the French National Research Agency and ITE France Energies Marines are seeing their first results, and France is leading the way in the field of research into site characterisation methods, environmental impacts and technology design tools.
Pilot sites in the field of tidal or floating offshore wind turbines also have the support of the State and ADEME, through the mobilisation of the same financial programme, which aims to create consortiums whose crucial passage from the demonstration stage to the industrialisation stage will propel their global vocation. The recent awarding of four ambitious floating wind turbine pilot farm projects (Faraman, Leucate, Gruissan, Groix) bears witness to this dynamism, which is already being emulated in Southeast Asia, where France is multiplying its strategic actions of economic collaboration.
 
The commercial development of the sector could also be boosted by the achievement of the high range of objectives of the Multiannual Energy Program, which the industry expects to reach 21,000 MW by 2030. Marine energies will play a non marginal role, with targets of 8,000 MW of capacity by 2023 in the various technologies (installed and floating wind power, tidal turbines, etc.), which will be added to the 3,000 MW currently allocated to six French offshore wind farms (Tréport, Fécamp, Courseulles-sur-Mer, Saint-Brieuc, Saint-Nazaire, Iles d'Yeu and Noirmoutier), which are expected to come on stream in 2020-2023.
 
This multi-year planning, accompanied by spatial planning in preparation, is the key to visibility on the volumes and schedules so eagerly awaited by industrialists, who have for many years been asking the State to make progress in the method of allocating commercial farms. In the same vein, the implementation of the new "competitive dialogue" mechanism, accompanied by a preliminary phase of "derisking" of the installation zones, currently being tested in the 3rd offshore wind call for tenders, is being watched with great attention.

What's our stake? To make our ambition a reality, in France and abroad.

The strategy of having supported industrialists and encouraged French technologies is now bearing fruit, and is helping to create champions of marine energy who are already winning export markets.
Thus, and even if we cannot ignore the operational delay in mainland France for the installation of MRE sites, French technologies and know-how are being exported to all the oceans of the world: engineering, industry, project development, strategic subsets of the value chain. And the first plants in the Loire Valley are holding and will hold their volumes thanks to the markets won on the export market.
The multiplication of pilot farms and concrete projects off our coasts in the coming years should also make it possible to sustain these developments, while creating the thousands of jobs expected; 10,000 for offshore wind farms alone between now and 2020, according to the Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables (SER). (2).
 
These are all positive signals that show that France's technological and industrial ambition in marine energy is "realistic" and confirm the birth of a promising new sector, combining economic performance and environmental efficiency, to serve the energy transition.
 
Marc LafosseOceanographer, President of the Engineering Office Energie de la LuneOrganiser of the Seanergy Convention (3)
 
(3) Organised by BlueSign, Seanergy is the International Convention for Marine Renewable Energies, which will bring together 250 exhibitors and more than 3,500 MRE participants from all over the world on 22 and 23 March 2017 in Le Havre.
 

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