Monday, 13 Aug 2012
Renewables sector in France
France is rich in renewable energy resources, with the largest forest area in Western Europe, the second highest wind energy potential (5,500 kilometres of coasts) and considerable hydroelectric resources. The strong agricultural sector enables the development of bio-energy.
In overseas territories (DOM-TOMs), production of solar energy and wave energy is developing. The sector generates 100 000 jobs and €10 billon.
Offshore and onshore wind energy increases on average by 1000 MW per year - not enough to reach the objective of 19000MW by 2020. While France does not currently have a single offshore wind farm, the government has recently awarded 4 offshore wind farms of 1200 turbines for a total power of 6000 MW to 2 consortia with production of electricity due to start in 2020.180 companies operate in this sector.
Overview of other energy sectors:
Photovoltaic energy has witnessed an unprecedented growth in 2011 with the installation of 1500 MW, propelling the current capacity to 2500 MW. 170 subcontracting companies operate in this sector.
Thermal energy has acquired an increasing role, with biomass and geothermic energy standing at the leading sectors.
Solar energy and electric biomass, on the contrary, are lagging behind.
France relies heavily on hydro-generated energy. In 2011 this sector accounted for 12 to 14% of the total production of electricity. France has a very mature and long established hydro-electric industry which produces 69 TWh per year.
Opportunities exist in almost all branches of the sector for innovative companies.
Wind energy is considered a particularly promising sector and has been given priority by the French Government. Last April the government awarded tenders for four offshore wind sites on the north coast with a total capacity of 1.9GW. A second tender is expected in the second half of 2012.
This represents an interesting opportunity for British companies, which are renowned for their expertise and experience in this field.
Following last year successful Offshore Wind event, UKTI Paris will hold a follow-up event in December. This will be an opportunity for British companies to meet their French counter parts and discuss ways in which they can work together.
Getting into the market
Companies looking to break into the French market should be innovative and focused on the wider and more economical sale of products and solutions to meet France’s Grenelle objectives. Developing techniques to facilitate the connection of renewable energies to the national grid will also be key. The UK is, however, recognised as a leader in many areas and companies need to transfer this expertise to the French market if they are to stand a chance of winning business.
Knowledge of the French language and culture is extremely well received. It is essential to build up relationships with contacts in France and patience is key (not uncommon to take up to 4 years to achieve results). It is also essential to have documentation in French and to conduct initial calls/meetings in French. Needless to say, working with a well-connected French agent/representative will be key. Price is also all-important unless product unique and a real demand exists.
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country - or contact your local international trade team.
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
UKTI Paris Renewables event
December 2012 – TBC
8-10 October 2012
10-11 April 2012