Renewables have a growing importance in France’s energy mix with consumption growing by 33% in the last 5 years.
Renewables sector in France
Renewables have a growing importance in France’s energy mix with consumption growing by 33% in the last
5 years. They now account for 13% of France’s energy consumption and State set “Grenelle” objectives
should further boost growth.
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
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
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.
Latest export opportunities – Renewable Energy
Latest export opportunities – France
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
More about doing business in France
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.
ξ Xavier Owen, British Embassy France. Tel: +33 1 44 51 32 80 or email:
ξ Amélie Rives, British Embassy France. Tel: +33 1 44 51 34 04 or email:
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
Latest events – Renewable Energy
8-10 October 2012
10-11 April 2012
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters