Highlights in 2018
Highlights in 2018


Mission Innovation impact case study

The involvement of France in IC2 as co-lead has had a significant impact for the launching of support activities in the field of off-grid energy access. It enabled or at least accelerated the launch of the call for projects completed in 2018, making possible the funding of 9 projects targeting energy innovation on the African continent. It has also allowed a close cooperation between France and India on off-grid access to energy innovation programs sharing objectives and projects accomplishments.

The international dimension of MI gives strong emphasis to all the activities performed under its umbrella. As an example, the calls for projects launched in the frame of IC2 obtained international visibility and the project nominees could have access to a worldwide audience (pitch at MI-3, presentation of the projects at the IC2 international workshops).

Projects are currently in progress, they will stand as demonstration solutions to be widely deployed in the frame of a scale-up process to follow. These projects, if successful have the potential to dramatically improve the life of the populations, by bringing viable and locally climate compatible energy solutions in the African off-grid territories.

Update on clean energy innovation policies and 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 COP21 and the Paris Agreement.

In July 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, this 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 the five-year term.

As a follow-up to those political corner stones which the green growth act and the climate plan represent, France published in January 2019 its multi-annual energy plan (MEP), covering all aspects of energy policy and all forms of energy. The MEP sets out two fundamental priorities: reducing energy consumption, particularly fossil fuel consumption, and developing renewable energy sources. These will be the central tenets of our energy system as it evolves to meet the demands of the low-carbon economy.

In the same time frame, France published its National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC), which defines the trajectory to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the national level and orchestrates the implementation of the transition towards a low-carbon economy. This strategy defines over three periods of time (2015-2018, 2019-2023, 2024-2028) the upper limits for greenhouse gas emissions that should not be exceeded on average at the national level (carbon budget) and sets targets by sectors of activity.

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.

In June 2018, the French Minister for an ecological and solidary transition announced a national hydrogen plan aiming at an accelerated deployment of green hydrogen production facilities. Among other measures, the plan foresees a support of €100 million to fund innovation projects which will make the scaling-up of green hydrogen solutions possible.

Major innovation initiatives in 2018/19

Regarding the actual financing of clean energy innovation projects, a new round of the French programme of investments for the future was launched by the end of 2016, with a total amount of funding of €10 billion 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, the different actions operated by the French environment & energy management agency (ADEME) supported since 2010, 745 projects with a total amount of support of €2.5 billion (budget overall projects: €7.22 billion). The targeted sectors were energy transition, transportation for the future, circular economy, eco-efficient buildings, industry and agriculture.

The third strand of the future investment programme (Programme d’investissements d’avenir (PIA)), launched early last year, has provided ADEME with a funding envelope of €1 billion for the energy transition. Among which, namely:

  • €300 million State aids (grants and repayable advances) for the action demonstrators of the energy and ecological transition,
  • €400 million in equity for innovative infrastructure investments of the ” First Of A Kind” commercial type,
  • €150 million for the so-called Innovation Contest, a call for projects dedicated to SME’s and start-ups.

In addition, ADEME launched this year two calls for projects to enhance hydrogen innovation and its scale up, targeting two sectors, transportation and mobility and industrial processes.

In parallel, the programme of investments for the future enabled the setting-up of the Energy transition institutes (ITE), multi-disciplinary platforms addressing topics focussed on the energy transition. They bring together the know-how of the industry and the academic world and are based on a public-private co-investing partnership. 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. The whole programme is provided with a budget envelope amounting to circa €450 million, financing up to 50% of the activities of the institutes.

Major activities in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2018/19

France participates in the 8 innovation challenges. All are considered very relevant to contribute to accelerate the deployment of innovative low-carbon solutions. Among all the activities performed may be highlighted several specific actions. Namely:

IC2: Among the 8 Challenges identified by MI, the Challenge on “innovation for off-grid electricity access from renewable” is co-led by France and India.

  • France launched a call for proposals (CFP) on innovative solutions for off-grid access to energy, enabling the selection of 9 projects in March 2018. The global budget of these 9 projects amounted €5.8 million with a support amounting €1.8 million. The 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).
  • A workshop was held in India at the beginning of March 2019 organised by the Indian Department of Science and Technology with French participation. This event gave the opportunity to gather stakeholders, government representatives, entrepreneurs and researchers and exchange on projects selected by French and Indian CFP on innovation for off-grid energy access.

IC3: France joined the CO2 capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) innovation challenge from its foundation in 2016. This topic is addressed by the French low-carbon national strategy as one of the levers to reach the goal of neutrality carbon (e.g. coupling CCUS with biomass combustion). Hence, France:

  • Participates to the ERANET ACT CCUS (European funding programme), which aims at supporting projects dealing with the priorities set by this innovation challenge.
  • Contributes to the definition of the action plan of the challenge in co-operation with the challenge co-leads, UK, Mexico and Saudi Arabia and is involved in the organisation of an event planned for June 2019, aiming at identifying collaboration between industries and laboratories to work on the major topics identified from the “CCUS Experts Workshop”.

IC8: France joined the hydrogen innovation challenge from is foundation in 2018, this topic being considered as a major lever of the energy transition.

  • France actively participates to the events organized by the challenge (workshops of Berlin and Antwerpen).
  • Among others, France is looking forward to contributing to the actions which will performed in the frame of the “Hydrogen valleys” initiative launched by the EC. The Zero Emission Valley (Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region) was selected to participate to the international cluster of hydrogen valleys.

New collaborations

ERANet Geothermica
France, European Commission
Combination of 17 geothermal energy research and innovation programme owners and managers from 14 countries and their regions.
Sectors: public-private
Type of collaboration: demonstration and technology development projects to accelerate geothermal energy deployment
Duration: second call is currently in preparation
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ERANet Smart Energy Systems
France, European Commission
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.
Sectors: public-private
Type of collaboration: A transnational joint programming platform to initiate co-creation and promote energy system innovation
Find out more