An institute well-equipped to support the ORE sector
A multidisciplinary team of 85 employees, four R&D themes, a model of public-private collaboration shared with seven other institutes for energy transition and eight technological research institutes: this is France Energies Marines summarised in a few figures. These figures outline the contours of an institute that is particularly well-equipped to support R&D in the offshore renewable energies sector, a key component of France’s future energy mix and of Europe’s action to build a low-carbon world.
A mission: to promote and contribute to R&D in the ORE sector
The mission of France Energies Marines is to define, set-up and apply the scientific and technical environment required to overcome the obstacles facing the offshore renewable energies sector. This mission is divided into three main areas:
- Stimulating the competitiveness of the sector;
- Enhancing the attractiveness of the territories;
- Accompanying regional and national authorities.
Collaborative R&D and services are in the heart of the Institute’s activities
The Institute’s activities are mainly oriented towards collaborative R&D, including the carrying out of research work, but also the setting up, coordination and scientific leading of projects. Four cross-disciplinary and complementary research programmes have been defined: site characterisation, design and monitoring of ORE systems, environmental integration and farm optimisation. To ensure the sustainability of its development model, France Energies Marines has developed its service offer based on a detailed market analysis as well as the know-how and resources resulting mainly from R&D programmes. It is structured around four main areas: software engineering and development, studies and audits, instruments and performance, and representation and coordination. The Institute is also heavily involved in several cross-disciplinary activities whose aim is always to support the development of offshore renewable energies.
A public-private collaboration bringing together the main players in the sector
Faced with an intrinsically dynamic sector, France Energies Marines has always been able to bring together some thirty entities from the public and private sectors, with a constant desire to open up to new members. Since its creation, it has been anchored in the ecosystem by the French sea competitiveness clusters. The national dimension, which is original for an institute for energy transition, is measured by the presence of regional authorities on the metropolitan and overseas coasts. Academic structures, research establishments or institutions provide excellence and high standards in marine research. As for the complementary links in the ORE value chain, they include energy specialists, developers, industrial assemblers, equipment manufacturers, engineering consultancy firms and certification offices.
A growth since 2012
Since the beginning of 2020, the activities of the Institute for energy transition have been carried out by a simplified joint-stock company, but the team has been gradually built up from the labelling granted in 2012 to the France Energies Marines prefiguration Association. Created following a national reflection on the interest of building a national technological platform for offshore renewable energies, this first structure brought together a broad partnership with the main players in the sector. The first projects were co-financed by the founding members. In 2015, a framework agreement signed with the French National Research Agency within the framework of the Investments for the Future Programme enabled the doubling of French State funding. This new impetus marked the start of France Energies Marines’ continuous growth. Over the 2012-2018 period, which precedes the Institute agreement, more than 35 projects have been completed and €10 million have been operated by the Institute. Thanks to the collaborative scheme representing a significant leverage effect, a total of €27 million has been dedicated to R&D for ORE.
Locations as close as possible to the French coastlines
Because of its national vocation, France Energies Marines has always been concerned with the specificities of the different French maritime façades and the actors in the territories. This proximity, which is a considerable asset, is reflected in the strategic locations, each of which is growing in importance as the Institute expands. France Energies Marines is particularly keen to support the development of bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind energy, as close as possible to pilot and commercial projects.
- Headquarters: Since its creation in 2012, France Energies Marines has set up its headquarters near Brest in Brittany. It soon joined the Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique, the Technopôle Brest-Iroise and the Campus Mondial de la mer. These different entities and initiatives are at the heart of the animation between marine and maritime research and industry, thus reinforcing the synergies with the local ecosystem.
- Atlantic Office: Since 2017, France Energies Marines has had an Atlantic Office located in Nantes, on the Atlanpole site, with the Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique. This configuration encourages collaboration between research players and companies through complementary mechanisms. Several PhD students and post-doctoral research fellows are also housed in the Institute’s local partner laboratories.
- Mediterranean Office: Created in 2019, the Mediterranean Office is developing with a multidisciplinary team based in Marseille, on the site of the Ecole Centrale de Marseille. The hosting and co-supervision of PhD students and post-doctoral research fellows are also provided by partner laboratories in the SUD Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Occitanie regions. The partnership with the Pôle Mer Méditerranée also strengthens the collaboration between research and business actors in the two regions.
- East Channel – North Sea Office: Opened at the end of 2022, this branch is located on the premises of the University of Le Havre Normandy. Its objective is to support the development of wind energy off the Normandy coast. The local anchoring that its creation allows also serves the launch in 2023 of a structuring research programme aiming to study the interactions between offshore wind energy and the marine environment, which is based on the instrumentation of a measuring mast located off Fécamp.
Holding of the Grenelle de l’Environnement
After the initial work carried out by the French partnership initiative for the emergence of offshore energies called IPANEMA, this Grenelle is continuing the collective construction of a national ORE strategy. Among the recommendations made is the urgent need to create a national offshore renewable energy technology platform to catalyse partnership research and coordinate the setting up of sea test sites, which are essential for validating the technologies.
Creation of France Energies Marines
Submitted in March 2011, the France Energies Marines project obtained official certification one year later. Set up in response to the call for projects for the Institutes of excellence in decarbonated energy, it is based on a broad public-private partnership, reflecting a strong national ambition in terms of R&D dedicated to offshore renewable energy.
0.6 million euros annual budget
Signature of a framework agreement with the French Research Agency
This signature is materialised by the implementation of an original process of calls for projects, supported by the Investments for the Future Programme and coordinated by the French Research Agency (ANR). It enables the co-financing of projects based on themes from the European roadmap for the strategic development of offshore renewable energies, adapted by France Energies Marines to the expectations of French industrialists. Within this framework, the Institute sets up and manages all the projects proposed by its members.
11 R&D projects
1.5 million euros annual budget
Agreement as Institute for Energy Transition
This French State decision enables the Institute to continue to develop its activities and to increase the shared R&D efforts of the French industry. The strategic priorities are to reduce the cost of ORE and their integration into the marine environment.
+ More than 55 R&D projects
2.5 million euros annual budget