Highlights in 2017
Highlights in 2017

New clean energy innovation policies and/or strategies

To face climate change challenges and be collectively able to limit global warming under 2°C, innovation will be key. It will enable us to act simultaneously towards three major goals: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, economic development and job creation, and energy security. These goals are at the heart of French energy transition for green growth act, which was passed in August 2015, a few months before COP 21 and the Paris Agreement. According to the Green Growth Act, France published its national low carbon strategy in November 2015 which is currently under revision and is expected to be endorsed by the end of 2018. Meanwhile, a regular tracking process was implemented based on a scoreboard built from 184 indicators.

Regarding research and innovation, France published its National Energy Research Strategy in December 2016, focusing on key transformational themes for energy transition (energy efficiency and integration of renewable sources, increased flexibility, digitization and decentralization of systems). It also emphasizes the need to support cross disciplinary research, to foster innovation in relation to territories and the industrial network, in particular small businesses, and to develop skills and knowledge for and through R&D.

On July 6th 2017, the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition presented the Government’s Climate Plan. Drawn up at the request of the President and Prime Minister, it calls on all government departments across the board to step up the pace of the energy and climate transition and of the Paris Agreement’s implementation, throughout a five-year term. This Climate Plan sets forth the Government’s vision and ambition for laying the foundations of a new model of prosperity that makes more sparing use of energy and natural resources and for seizing the opportunities before us in terms of innovation, investment and job creation. It stakes out a sea change as regards the main greenhouse gas-emitting sectors: construction, transport, energy, agriculture and forestry, industry and waste. Showing solidarity with the most vulnerable and poorest segments of our society, in the North and South alike, is the golden thread running through all of the actions outlined in this plan, to ensure that no one is left by the wayside and that solutions are found for everyone. It is an action plan for the entire five-year term, calling on all of the government departments concerned at the impetus of the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister: with that in mind, it not only sets out specific measures but also defines the main guidelines for action which will be implemented over the coming months and discussed with the stakeholders. Efforts will be made across the spectrum to ensure cooperation and drawing up of contracts with the local authorities, economic sectors concerned and civil society.

Regarding the actual financing of clean energy innovation projects, a new round of the French programme of investments for the future was launched at the end of 2016, with a total amount of funding of 10 billion euros over 2017-2025. Around two thirds of this sum will be dedicated to the ecology and energy transition in general, including clean energy innovation in particular. In this framework, eight calls for projects were launched at the beginning of 2018 to support research, development and demonstration projects in the field of ecological and energetic transition. These eight calls will enable a financial support amounting to 300 M€ in 2018 and 2019. The targets are for projects with TRL between 4 and 6. Besides, the French public bank of investment accompanies projects of higher TRL towards the development of demonstrators. In parallel, the programme of investments for the future enabled the setting-up of the so-called Energetic transition institutes (ITE). These structures are multi-disciplinary platforms addressing topics focussed on the energetic transition. They bring together the know-how of the industry and the academic world and are based on a public-private co-investing partnership. The ITE’s aim at carrying out industrial and services developments starting from the technological innovation down to the demonstrator and the industrial prototype. Round ten ITE’s were recognized, covering various sectors, namely: green chemistry and bio-sourced materials, renewable marine energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, smart electric grids, energy efficiency, sustainable buildings, decarbonised vehicles and innovative mobility. In 2017, took place the triennial evaluation for several ITE’s, which could highlight a high quality R&D activity for a majority of these institutes, with a strong emphasis given to economic valorisation of the results achieved. The whole programme is provided with a budget envelope amounting circa 1 billion euros, financing up to 50% of the activities of the institutes.

Finally, France has launched in November 2018 a wide consultation process with stakeholders in order to adopt a new Buildings renovation plan. The plan will be adopted in April 2018 and will include a focus on innovation development and diffusion in the Building sector, in order to improve the renovation processes and works, to increase the skills and means of the SME’s of the sector. An additional program of 30 M€ will be implemented.

Top clean energy innovation successes in 2017

  • In 2017, 216 innovation projects related to the thematic of the energetic transition were launched in the framework of the French programme of investments for a total public support of 396 M€.
  • In the framework of IC#2, co-leaded by France and India, France launched a call for proposals (CFP) on innovative solutions for off-grid access to energy. The CFP was closed last November and more than 90 project proposals were received. Beginning of January 2018, a selection was made by a Jury including French Ministries (energy, research and economy), AFD, IEA and ADEME. 9 projects were selected for funding. The global budget of these 9 projects amounted to 5.8 million Euros and public support amounted to 1.8 million Euros. These selected projects address various innovative technologies (hybrid electricity production, solar, river stream generator), different uses of electricity enhancing economic development (irrigation, agriculture, desalination, mobility) and electricity payment issues (pay as you go, leasing…). Innovation was also present in the projects governance.
  • Floatgen, a floating wind turbine demonstration project was inaugurated at Saint-Nazaire harbour last October. The equipment is planned to be installed off the coast of Brittany (France) and goal is to deliver 2MW to the electric grid. This project is supported by the European Union as part of the FP7 programme.

Top activities delivered in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2017

IC2: Among the 7 Challenges identified by Mission Innovation, the Challenge on “innovation for off-grid electricity access from renewable” is co-led by France and India. In July 2017, France organized an international workshop on “off grid access to electricity” Challenge IC2 in Paris with the International Energy Agency. This workshop gathered more than 100 stakeholders involved in Off grid access to electricity (large and small enterprises, NGOs, Governments, Funding Institutions) in order to exchange on innovations needed for the Challenge of electricity access for Off grid populations.
The main conclusions of the workshop underlined the expectation of innovation in term of technologies improvement in electricity production systems (including storage and system management) and in electricity utilization efficient equipment but also in term of business models, maintenance and empowerment of local professional. The French Ministry of Ecological and Solidary Transition asked ADEME, the French Agency for Environment and Energy Management to launch a call for proposals (CFP) on innovative solutions for off-grid access to energy as described above.

IC1: Smart grids: France sets the thematic smart grid as high priority in the context of the energetic transition. Therefore, France is actively participating to the regular exchanges happening under the challenge.

IC3: Carbon capture and usage innovation challenge: France participated to the experts’ workshop which took place in September 2017 in Houston, focussing on early stage breakthrough CCUS technologies. This event hosted 250 experts of the domain and succeeded in identifying research priorities. Among the different topics addressed, France was particularly interested in the challenge of the re-use of the CO2. The report following this workshop is expected shortly.


Joint call ANR-BMBF for collaborative research projects on smart grids and renewable energy storage
Countries: Germany
Type of collaboration: public-private
Start date: 2018
Funding amount: €20 million

Collaborative projects between German and French partners that conduct application-oriented basic research (TRL 1-5) aiming at highly innovative, cross-sectoral solutions for economically, ecologically and socially sustainable and secure energy storage and distribution in France, Germany and Europe.


Joint launch of two calls for projects in France and India related to off-grid access to electricity
Countries: India
Type of collaboration: public-private
Start date: 2018
Funding amount: €2 million (French call) over €6 million overall

Call for projects on innovative off grid energy access in France by the Ademe and the Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition and in India by Ministry of science and technology.

ERANet Geothermica
Countries: European Union
Type of collaboration: public-private
Start date: Last call took place in 2017
Combination of 17 geothermal energy research and innovation programme owners and managers from 14 countries and their regions.

Additional information:

ERANet Smart Energy Systems
Countries: European Union
Type of collaboration: public-private
Start date: Last call took place in 2017, results expected in summer 2018

The initiative deals with the key challenges and topics of the future energy system:

  • Smart Power Grids
  • Integrated Regional Energy Systems
  • Flexible Heating and Cooling Systems
  • Smart Services

Additional information: