France Announces Massive Investment in Cleantech

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The French government recently announced a large investment program for renewables and green chemistry. The investment, totaling 1.35 billion euros ($1.75 billion) will be allocated over the next four years.

Named “ Démonstrateurs énergies renouvelables et chimie verte ” – or renewable energy and green chemistry demonstration – this program plans to allocate 450 million euros in subsidies and 900 million euros in low-interest loans.

These sums will be allocated progressively : 190 million in 2010 and 290 million per year until 2014.

The program wants private investors and research organizations to join in to bring more than two billion euros to help finance all the projects.

The goal behind this is to spur innovation and the deployment of green technologies in energy and chemistry.

This is not likely to be the last program of its kind in France according to Bloomberg Businessweek:

The environment agency plans to open two other programs under the bill, including a 1 billion-euro plan to develop sustainable transportation and a 250 million-euro measure to develop smart-grid technologies, the spokeswoman said.

Indeed Nicolas Sarkozy’s government is fully aware of how such economic sectors can create local jobs and economic growth. For example, the wind energy sector already employs more than 7,000 people.

This was the reason why France wanted to launch a comprehensive green revolution. Called the Grenelle de l’Environnement, it has since its beginning in 2007, known both successes and failures.

Among the successes one can note the feebate system used to promote energy efficient cars and a zero-interest rate loan for housing renovation.

According to a study published last year by the Boston Consulting Group, the Grenelle could create up to 600,000 jobs.

France is known to have developed for the past decades an important set of nuclear reactors, which partially allow the country to have 90 percent low carbon electricity.

But as concerns over oil reserves and climate grow, it is willing to develop low carbon alternatives.

It seems that with this money, research on solar, wind and other low carbon energy sources will be boosted.

photo: Victor Radziun

About Author

Fascinated by sustainability and cleantech since 2004, Edouard wrote both his Bachelor of Arts' dissertation and Master's thesis on sustainable energy topics. He haven't stopped writing on these subjects ever since. A French Master's graduate in international management, Edouard has had several experiences in Marketing and Communications in Europe. He worked for firms as diverse as a German water treatment company, a leading French business school and lately a Belgian automation specialist. He is currently for hire globally. Since 2007 Edouard has been selecting for his own blog the latest headlines and best researches on sustainable development, climate change, cleantech and the world energy sector. With over 1,600 published articles, he is read all over the world. On Cleantechies, Edouard has been proposing since June 2009 news articles and opinion pieces on on French and European policies. Don't hesitate to contact him as he is always interested in discussing with new people.