Member Participation

France

Narrative

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,1 which was passed in August 2015 under the initiative of Ségolène Royal, Minister of environment, energy and the sea, president of the UNFCCC COP 21. They are also developed in the national low carbon strategy2 published in November 2015.

The main issue for emerging technologies and solutions is to go from the prototype stage to the market at a large scale. When new technologies manage to cross the “valley of death”, they are too often restricted to niche markets, usually because of high costs or risks. Although significant progress has been achieved in recent years, for instance in the field of renewable energy, which costs have fallen dramatically, investments are still short what is needed.

Mission Innovation is about giving these new technologies and solutions the possibility to play a decisive role in the fight against climate change. The conjunction of public and private efforts at an unprecedented level must enable these revolutionary technologies to overcome barriers, accelerate their development and reach the mass market, to provide every country with reliable and affordable clean energy.

In that context, France committed on November 30th 2015, together with 19 other countries at the launch event of Mission Innovation, to doubling its state-directed public investments in research and development for clean energy over five years, compared to its average investment level during the 2012-2014 period.

Baseline

French investments will focus on renewable energy, energy storage, carbon capture storage and use, and innovations aiming at improving energy efficiency (including in industry, buildings, transports, circular economy, and smart grids). They will cover the whole chain of innovation, from basic research to demonstration (Technology Readiness Levels between 1 to 8 i.e. do not include deployment).

Over the 2012-2014, the average state-directed3 public investments in these areas, both through research funding agencies programmes and public research organisations budget allocations, amounted to 440 M€ per year in France, as was reported to the International Energy Agency. This constitutes the baseline for France to be doubled by 2020.

Beyond direct funding to R&D and innovation projects, France has also set up complementary instruments, such as a tax credit (“Crédit impôt recherche”), with 5.5 billion euros in 2013 to support companies’ efforts in R&D in all sectors, including in clean energy. France also contributes significantly4 to the European programme Horizon 2020 on clean energy, that amounts to 9.8 billion euros for the 2014-2020 seven-year period.

Focus areas for France in MI

Funding Programme

The doubling effort in France will, for a large part, go through the “Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir” (PIA)or “Investments for the future programme”. A first round of this programme was launched in 2010 and a second round in 2014.

French agency of environment and energy management (ADEME) operates in this framework a programmewith about 3 billion euros funding on the 2010-2020 period (for subsidies, refundable grants, and also private equity in startups and SPVs for first-of-a-kind projects) and has launched a series of calls for projects of demonstration in the field of clean energy. So far, 500 projects have been supported with 1.7 bn€ from ADEME and a leverage effect (ratio of total cost to public funding) of about 2.9.

Around 15 calls were opened at the beginning of November 2016 on various topics covering French perimeter for Mission Innovation and will help accelerating the funding of innovation in the coming months and years. Some calls are dedicated to small businesses, with a fast track and a simplified process.

French agency of research (ANR) operates another PIA programme called “Instituts de la transition énergétique” (ITE) or “energy transition institutes”, with 1 billion euros funding on the 2010-2020 period. ITE gather private industries and public laboratories for the creation of new high standard companies dedicated to R&D and innovation in the field of clean energy: for instance, institute SUPERGRID7 is focused on future electric transmission grids, VEDECOM8 is specialized on sustainable mobility and connected vehicles, INES29 and IPVF10 are dedicated to solar energy, PIVERT11 and IFMAS12 are focused on bio energy, EFFICACITY13 is about smart cities, etc.

In addition to the PIA programme, ANR also runs a basic research funding programme based on annual calls for projects focused on the priorities defined by the national research strategy14, which identified a “clean, secure and efficient energy” challenge similarly to the European SET Plan, with five areas of action:

  • Dynamic management of energy systems;
  • Multi-scale governance of new energy systems;
  • Energy efficiency in all fields of the economy;
  • Reduced need for strategic materials;
  • Decarbonisation of energy and chemistry sectors.

Main French energy research organisms (CEA, IFPEN, CNRS, universities, etc., that are grouped in a research alliance dedicated to energy, called ANCRE15) also follow these priorities, through their objectives and performance contracts with the French State.

Highlights

A third round of the PIA will be launched by the end of 2016 (budget law for 2017), with a total amount of funding of 10 billion euros. President Hollande announced in April that two thirds of this sum will be dedicated to the ecology and energy transition in general, including clean energy innovation in particular.


1 For more detail on French energy transition for green growth act, please refer to: http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/14123-8-GB_loi-TE-mode-emploi_DEF_light.pdf

2 For more detail on French national low carbon strategy, please refer to: http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/Strategie-nationale-bas-carbone.html 

3 Local authorities funding is not included

4 France provided around 15.8 % of EU budget in 2014

5 http://www.gouvernement.fr/investissements-d-avenir-cgi

6 http://www.ademe.fr/entreprises-monde-agricole/innover-developper/programme-investissements-avenir-pia

7 http://www.supergrid-institute.com/en/home

8 http://vedecom.fr/en/

9 http://www.ines-solaire.org/

10 http://www.ipvf.fr/en/

11 http://www.institut-pivert.com/?lang=en

12 http://www.ifmas.eu/

13 http://www.efficacity.com/en/

14 http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/pid24538/strategie-nationale-de-recherche-s.n.r.html

15 http://www.allianceenergie.fr/

Baseline and Doubling Plans

  • Country-Determined Baseline Year(s): 2012-2014
  • Baseline Funding Amount: EUR ‎€440 million (USD $494 million)
  • Doubling Target-Year: 2020
  • Doubling Target Amount: EUR €880 million (USD $989 million)

Methodology for Determining Baseline

Over 2012-2014, the average state-directed2 public investments in these areas, both through research funding agencies programmes and public research organisations budget allocations, amounted to 440 M€ per year in France, as was reported to the International Energy Agency. This constitutes the baseline for France to be doubled by 2020. Beyond direct funding to R&D and innovation projects, France has also set up complementary instruments, such as a tax credit (“Crédit impôt recherche”), with 5.5 billion euros in 2013 to support companies’ efforts in R&D in all sectors, including in clean energy. France also contributes significantly3 to the European programme Horizon 2020 on clean energy, that amounts to 9.8 billion euros for the 2014-2020 seven-year period.

Country-Definition of Clean Energy R&D Investment

These investments will focus on renewable energy, energy storage, carbon capture storage and use, and innovations aiming at improving energy efficiency (including in industry, buildings, transports, circular economy, and smart grids). They will cover the whole chain of innovation, from basic research to demonstration.

Overview of Clean Energy R&D Focus Areas Emphasized in Mission Innovation Portfolio

Industry & buildings

 

Vehicles & other transportation

 

Bio-based fuels & energy

 

Solar, wind & other renewables

 

Nuclear energy
Hydrogen & fuel cells

 

Cleaner fossil energy
CO2 capture, utilization & storage

 

Electricity grid

 

Energy storage

 

Basic energy research

 

Indicators are for key areas of Mission Innovation R&D investment but do not imply a comprehensive representation of a country’s full R&D portfolio.


2 Local authorities funding is not included

3 France provided around 15.8 % of EU budget in 2014

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