Normandy, the next step for the Nordics on the way to energy transition?
Architect of the Paris Agreement and fervent promoter of the European Green Deal, France has the will and resources to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. As part of this commitment, Normandy has fixed an ambitious strategy to produce a diversified mix of resource-efficient and competitive energy. With 650 km of coastline, well-developed infrastructures, and a pool of qualified people, the region offers undeniable advantages. In the coming weeks, we will publish a series of articles highlighting this strategy, the measures taken by Normandy in the hydrogen industry, marine renewable energy, and bio-based energy and showcasing the opportunities that this opens up for Nordic players.
France has set up ambitious targets for the energy transition
As part of the Paris Climate Agreement, France has made firm commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in the energy sector. To achieve this energy transition, but also to diversify the energy mix, ensure the security of supply and competitiveness, the Multi-annual Energy Plan (PPE) sets the Government’s priorities for the next ten years. The plan aims at reaching 33% sustainable energy in the country’s energy mix by 2030.
Only a few countries have set such an ambitious goal, among which the Nordic ones are the most prominent. For example, in 2016, the city of Copenhagen announced that it would become carbon neutral by 2025, and it will most likely achieve this ambitious goal!
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Concretely, the PPE sets the following targets to diversify the energy mix:
- Double the installed capacity of renewable electric energies in 2028 compared to 2017.
- Increase offshore wind capacity with six new calls for tenders during the first PPE (2019-2023).
- Increase financial support for the hydrogen sector.
- Increase state support for the biogas sector to €9.7 billion so that it represents 6 to 8% of gas consumption in 2028.
Normandy has all it takes to be a driving force in the energy transition
Normandy is a region known for its energy potential, as a large part of it remains untapped. Today, more than 36,000 people work in the energy sector in 1,400 companies. Major suppliers of nuclear, thermal, and renewable energy rely on seven regional laboratories, partners of the “laboratory of excellence” (Labex), in the field of materials for energy and clean combustion. The region is also a leader for renewable marine energies (RME) with its 650 km windy coastline and the highest tidal spot in Europe. As part of France’s energy and climate plan for 2030, a tender for 1 GW of offshore wind capacity will be launched this year in the French sections of the English Channel off Normandy – in a development area called Manche Est Mer du Nord.
Normandy marine renewable energy map
Finally, the region has launched some industry-specific plans to support its local energy ecosystem, most recently in bio-based energy sources and the hydrogen sector. The objective is to foster economic growth by enabling energy companies to install and grow in the region.
Normandy invests in hydrogen, marine renewable energy, and biomass
Three industries have a strong potential for growth in Normandy:
- Almost a third of the national hydrogen consumption takes place in Normandy. Besides traditional uses in petrochemicals or aerospace, the region relies on new services such as hydrogen mobility. Normandy was the first French region to adopt in October 2018, a support plan for the hydrogen sector. With a budget of €15 million over three years, this plan has the dual objective of accelerating Normandy’s energy transition and the decarbonization of the economy and establishing an industrial sector of the future.
- On the one hand, Normandy is at the forefront of offshore wind farm development in France, with key projects at various stages of completion. The potential is massive, as France’s objective is to achieve an installed offshore wind capacity, landed and floating, of 2.4 GW in 2023 and approximately 5 GW in 2028. On the other hand, Normandy benefits from the highest tidal site in Europe, the Raz Blanchard.
- Among French regions, Normandy is ranked high in two sectors tightly linked with bio-based energy: the wood and forestry industry, and the methanation industry. The presence of significant agricultural activities also hints at a largely unexplored potential for exploiting farming bioproducts.
Contact the local development agency AD Normandy for more information and guidance in your investment project in the region.