Annual Report 2017
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. In application, the 10-year targets for installed capacity and consented projects for all types of energy used in electricity production will soon be updated in the governmental “Pluri-annual Energy Policy”. This roadmap, to be published in 2018, will set specific objectives on the horizon 2023 and 2028. With respect to ocean energies, figures will be provided solely for tidal energy (and not for wave energy, nor for OTEC).

A new law is being discussed to favour renewable energies by simplifying their deployment. Two situations are being debated:

  1. to have the cost of the export cable supported by the French Transmission System Operator, for all offshore developments;
  2. to streamline the legislative and legal framework by developing a so-called “permit envelope”. This procedure would move most of the legal obligations (preliminary technical studies, initial environmental assessment, public debate) 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 parallel to this simplified consenting process, France has accelerated its Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) by launching a consultation in 2016, and pursues identification of dedicated sites for ocean energy projects. The final Strategic Seaboard Document (DSF) should be completed by early 2019.


An ongoing programme has awarded 2 demonstration pilot farms of tidal energy converters for partial support: presently, only the Normandie Hydro project is proceeding, led by the EDF-En/Naval Energies consortium at Raz Blanchard. This project benefits from an older feed-in tariff (173€/MWh) and reimbursable loans.

The industrial tidal sector is now expecting initial surveys (resource assessment, technical feasibility, environmental impact, consenting) to take place beginning in the 2nd semester of 2018, ahead of a likely call for tenders at a commercial scale, foreseen for two high-energy zones having already been identified: Raz Blanchard and the Fromveur Strait in Brittany. In this competition, a major part of the selection criteria relies on the assessed price per MWh.

In France, the general framework for RDI&D national public funding in MRE comes through the Investment for the Future Programme. Two main agencies and a public bank are involved in managing these funds through calls for tenders, namely the ADEME (Environment and Energy agency), the ANR (National Research Agency) and the public Bank of Investments (BPI France).

Awarded funds by the ADEME have thus 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 wave energy converters, tidal turbine prototypes and technological bricks like subsea connectors or hubs, foundation concepts, specific dredging or installation tools, etc.

In 2017, the ANR awarded financing to 6 MRE R&D projects through the “Institute for the Energy Transition” call for tenders, in conjunction with France Energies Marines. These public-private collaborative projects tackle technological bottlenecks and environmental issues. In all, and over the period 2015-2017, the government awarded 10 M€ of R&D funding through this program.

One of the activities of BPI France is to buy shares in SMEs. To this end, in 2017, it was among the investors that increased by 3,7 M€ Eel Energy’s capital to support its tidal energy technology development.

All along the French coastline, at the regional level, local authorities also support the endeavours of the MRE sector. In addition to grants allocated to R&D federative programmes like the national institute France Energies Marines, or to local initiatives like WEAMEC, they invest in harbour facilities in order to enable the development of offshore wind and tidal industries, thus providing enough space to build plants along new quays, e.g. in Cherbourg, Brest and St-Nazaire.

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.