Annual Report 2018
Country Reports


Yann-Hervé De Roeck France Energies Marine



In France, the Energy Act (Loi de Transition Energétique pour la Croissance Verte), adopted in August 2015, defines an aim of 40% renewable energy in the electricity mix by 2030. The application decree called “Pluri-annual Energy Policy”, which sets 10-year targets for installed capacity for all types of energy used in electricity production, is planned to be updated in 2020, and every 5 years thereafter. Separate but comparable documents are defined for the mainland as well as oversea regions and territories. Distinct figures of installed capacities and timing for calls for tenders will be given for both bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind energy. The Ministry for an Ecological and Solidary Transition is in charge of setting these goals and completed a number of legislative reforms facilitating and accelerating offshore wind farm development processes (law 2018-727 and decree 2018-1204)at the end of 2017 and in 2018. However, for ocean energies, the mention is limited to the availability of public incentives for prototypes and pilot farms of converters until the LCOE of these technologies is demonstrated to be commercially competitive with respect to other renewable sources of energy.

In the Hydrocarbons Bill (which bans further drilling), published in January 2018, most sections support renewable energies by simplifying their deployment. Specifically, for offshore renewable energies, the cost of the export cable will now be supported by the French Transmission System Operator, which also takes over more legal and financial responsibilities with respect to the availability of the exportation of electricity.

Finally, in the Society in Confidence Act, adopted on 10 August 2018, which is dedicated to streamlining the legislative and legal framework for offshore energy projects, a so-called “envelope permit” has been adopted allowing project developers to ask for technological flexibility in their permits through an impact assessment based on the worst-case scenario. This procedure would also move most of the legal obligations (preliminary technical studies, initial environmental assessment, and public participation) upstream of the actual permit issuance, thereby considerably reducing the risk for project developers as long as the technical details of the project do not diverge from the initial plan.

In compliance with the EU directive on spatial planning, France has pursued identification of dedicated sites for offshore energy projects, with debates conducted by the regional local authorities for public consenting. The final Strategic Seaboard Document (DSF) was completed in 2019, and macro-zones suitable for the deployment of offshore renewable energies (wind and tidal) have been delineated: these zones are large enough in order to optimize the location of the areas proposed for future calls for tenders with respect to technical performance and consenting. These zones are in turn large enough to allow optimization of the actual farm layout by the developers.



An ongoing programme has awarded 2 demonstration pilot farms of tidal energy converters for partial support, allowing these projects to benefit from a feed-in tariff (€173/MWh), a grant and reimbursable loans: presently, both projects are on hold at Raz Blanchard.

Also in compliance with EU regulations on competitiveness, in the case of a call for tenders at a commercial scale, potentially foreseen for two high-energy tidal zones which have already been identified (Raz Blanchard and the Fromveur Strait in Brittany), a major part of the selection criteria will rely on the assessed price per MWh. However, the present LCOE of tidal energy is considered too high in order to enable such a call.



The Programme “Investment for the Future”, managed by the Prime Minister and, on energy topics, by the Ministry for the Ecological and Solidary Transition, is the major provider of the above mentioned incentives through grants and loans, with the selective help of three main agencies, depending on the TRL of the project (from higher to lower): Public Investment Bank (BPI), Environment and Energy Agency (ADEME), National Research Agency (ANR). Local authorities, at the regional level, also provide substantial support for prototypes and pilot projects.

ADEME created a roadmap for offshore energy as early as 2010. On this basis, several calls for initiatives and projects have been launched, from system parts to prototypes of pilot farms.
An estimated cumulative budget of this overall support for ocean energy in 2018 is €88 million, which includes 6 large completed or ongoing projects. New projects are expected in 2019 and the overall support to ocean energy for 2019 will depend on the projects received (it is not yet possible to estimate the allocated budget for 2019).

Awarded funds by  ADEME have also been directed to river turbine arrays (some at estuaries where turbines function like a small capacity tidal array). Ongoing projects issued from calls for tenders of previous years also involve ocean thermal energy converters, wave energy converters, tidal turbine prototypes and technological bricks like subsea connectors or hubs, foundation concepts, specific dredging or installation tools, etc.

In 2019, the ANR officially appointed one of the seven “Institutes for the Energy Transition” to be dedicated to marine renewable energies, thus contracting with France Energies Marines (FEM) and dedicating €4M over 2019 and 2020 to innovative research and development projects. This support for public-private collaborative R&D projects helps tackle technological bottlenecks and environmental issues. In all, and over the period 2015-2020, the government will have awarded €16M of R&D co-funding through this program (projects are supported by industry with an equivalent sum).

The two French competitive Sea clusters, Pôle Mer Bretagne-Atlantique and Pôle Mer Méditerranée, have MRE in their roadmaps. Through a labelling process, they foster interest in collaborative projects that can apply for national funding (e.g. the common inter-ministerial fund, FUI), as long as the expected results of those projects can be quickly marketable.