Clean Energy RD&D investments

Maintain a high level of public expenditure for RD&D in the energy sector

According to the annual survey performed by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, the public expenditure for RD&D in the energy sector amounted €1.24 billion in 2019, corresponding to 5% of the French public spending for R&D or 0.05% of the national GDP. These include:

  • € 397 million on new energy technologies (32%),
  • € 732 million for nuclear energy (59%),
  • € 100 million in transversal research areas (8%)

France will seek to pursue this high level financing of its annual clean energy RD&D over the next five-years.

Funding innovation to accelerate the pace of the energy transition is a top priority of the French government for the period 2020-2030

The Government is launching for the period 2021-2025, its 4th strand of the Programme Investments for the Future (PIA4), endowed with €20 billions for innovation. It will combine two intervention approaches aimed at accelerating innovation in all sectors, while simplifying the readability of intervention and financing tools: (i) strategic and priority investments (aims to finance exceptional investments that meet the challenges of transition of our economy and our society), (ii) long-term financing for higher education, research and innovation (amplify the efficiency of higher education and research ecosystems created by previous programmes and support innovative companies).

The strategic and priority investments will target high potential technology innovation sectors and will be derived in terms of so-called “Acceleration strategies” defining the key stages of development according to the maturity of the innovations, from their design to their deployment. All levers will be taken into account (funding, standardisation, research, education…)

“Zero-carbon Hydrogen” is the first validated strategy in the energy field. €7 billion will be invested, including €2 billion by 2022, in order to provide additional responses to the intermittence of renewable energies and to make France a major player worldwide in the field of carbon-free hydrogen. Several other strategies related to the energy field are currently in progress: decarbonisation of industry, bio-sourced products and bio-fuels, circular economy, advanced technologies for energy systems.

Incentive actions intended to stimulate research and innovation associated with renewable energies Energy Transition Institutes

Energy Transition Institutes (ITE) are public-private platforms that aim to create campuses of excellence to bring together academic research, major groups and SMEs on issues specific to energy transition, to foster innovation by bringing together public R&D efforts and industrial strategies. The ITE thus target the industrial development of a complete sector, from technological innovation to demonstrator and industrial prototype.

As part of the Investments for the Future Programme (PIA), the ANR monitors these dozen or so structures, which were awarded labels in 2011 and 2012 in the following domains:

  • Green chemistry and agro-based materials;
  • Renewable marine energies;
  • Solar energies;
  • Geothermal energy;
  • Smart electricity grids;
  • Energy efficiency;
  • Sustainable building;
  • Decarbonised vehicles and mobility.

This programme is currently allocated a total budget of around 450 million, funding up to 50% of ITE activities and is planned to continue until 2025 at least.