Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Region of Poitou-Charentes, renewable energy in Region of Poitou-Charentes.
Poitou-Charentes is a region which is located in the west of France. It is bordered by (Figure 1):
- north: Region of Pays de La Loire and Region of Centre
- east: Region of Limousin
- south: Region of Aquitanien
- west: Atlantic Ocean
Region of Poitou-Charentes is mainly rural territory. The capital is Poitiers. It consists of four Departments; Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres, and Vienne. The area is 25,810 km2 (4.7% of French territory). There are only 14 towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants. In 2006, the number of population was 1,724,000 inhabitants or 2.7% of French population. The population density is 67 persons/km2, it is more than the half of France (113 persons/km2).
An important economic sector is agriculture, the products from Cognac is the most famous. In 2006, the regional GDP is 23,800€/inhabitant (91% of EU average). In recent years, the region try to intensify the nature- and culture tourism, through the organization of festivals, concerts, exhibitions, etc. During high season (July and August), the tourists visit the historical cities and important center, therefore the tourist route will be elaborated.
Renewable Energy Development
There are some targets wanted to be achieved:
- Climate preservation: to reduce the emission of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) up to 30% by 2020 and to increase the production of renewable energy up to 25% by 2020.
- The regional solar plan: 270 MWp installed power plant with resulting of 1 billion Euro investments and the creation of 2,500 new jobs related to the plan. The production target for 2012 is to produce 7 Wh ( gigawatt hours) of solar electricity (1.5 times French production in 2007).
- Wind Power: 330 MW installed by 2012.
- Eco-homes and Buildings: a new program with very high energy efficiency standards for a farther 8,000 renovations or constructions by 2012.
There are two main major objectives of renewable energy development in the region:
- to improve living conditions of local populations by reducing poverty
- to fight against the effects of climate change through measures of mitigation and adaptation
Since 2004 a cooperation based on the development of renewable energy, micro-finance and goat-farming sector has been executed. A cooperation protocol signed on 4 December 2009 regarding eco-tourism, food security, education and institutional support completes the priorities of co-development.
The region is now going further. Along with the European Investment Bank, Ségolène Royal, the President of Poitou-Charentes region, has launched a plan for local authorities, companies and organizations committed to promote solar energy. There are good examples of the regional commitment to promote green growth: eco homes for 80,000 Euros, electric vehicles, and the first 100% “clean energy” Kyoto School in Europe.
Regional Policy for Protection of the Climate
The regional policies are based on environmental excellence to preserve natural resources, increase quality of life, create green growth, and generate new jobs.
Environmental excellence is a priority for the region which has undertaken many actions to develop renewable energies, energy efficiency, clean transport, eco-industries, and environmental protection.
- 870 M€ invested since 2004 (20% of the regional budget) in clean transports, energy, green economy development, natural resources preservation.
- 26% community ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) dedicated to the development of renewable energy (four times the French average). 122 M€ dedicated to energy for 2007 – 2013: 37 M€ region, 31 M€ state, 54 M€ ERDF.
- Climate preservation: 230,000 tons equivalent CO2 avoided in 2009.
Operational Programme ‘Poitou-Charentes’
This program has a total budget of about 577 million euros and financed by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) at amounts to some 201 million euros. It represents about 4.0% of Community aid to France as part of the cohesion policy for 2007-2013. Developing renewable energy sources is including in the priority to preserve the environment and prevent the risks.
Program for Renewable Energy Development- PRODER
It is a large-scale program allowing access to carbon finance, highlighted by the UNDP. The activities are concentrated at five eco-villages:
- The creation of a sector to produce energy-efficient stoves to conserve wood resources: Craftsmen trained, 25 women’s group involved, 5 mutual savings and credit organisations and over 700 stoves had been already sold;
- Design and deployment of solar ovens (Figure 2);
- Management of forest resources;
- Incorporation energy, climate and gender issues in planning decisions by local authorities;
- Rural electrification in isolated areas;
- Cooperation between France and Senegal which offers economic benefits with opportunities for several companies and research centers in the fields of solar energy, domestic wind turbines and bio-pesticides.
Regional Solar Energy Plan (2009 – 2012)
It is the first plan of this size, and two figures reveal its importance to the region: 400 million euros available through a financial partnership with the EIB (European Investment Bank) and Crédit Agricole for a first stage (Figure 3) (with low-cost financial tools) and 1,000 jobs as result.
The regional solar energy plan has the following priorities for action:
- Development of renewable energy production, involving the installation of 650,000 m2 of solar panels;
- Reinforcement of regional energy independence;
- Setting up of a true solar energy industry in the Poitou-Charentes region;
- Reduction of greenhouse gases.
- Maximize lever effect through coordinated action with partners.
- Synergy of tools: demonstrative policy on regional buildings (93 high schools), subsidies with ERDF, industrial development and creation of a cooperative company, innovative opportunities of financing with EIB.
Results and Impacts (end of 2009)
- 230 M€ of projects in the pipeline (100 M€ granted loans)
- > 40 MWp of projects in the pipeline (60% is the objective by 2012)
- A PV panels factory to be established in early 2011 (creating 100 jobs)
- A PV new training center and innovation cluster in development
The advantages of the mechanism are (Figure 4):
- Cost effective : no subsidies, no debts for the region
- PV Investments accelerated
- Regional economy stimulated
Renewable Energy in Poitou-Charentes Region
Renewable energy is included in as a part of the regional policy for protection of the climate.
- 600 companies and research centres mobilized around the cluster of eco-industries in Poitou-Charentes;
- 15 000 jobs and a large number of patents;
- a leading region in green technologies and renewable carbon.
- Development of an industrial sector producing low-cost electric vehicles;
- It boosts the competitiveness of local companies and has safeguarded 800 jobs;
- Electric vehicles (Figure 5) has been sold at about 5,000 euros (due to public subsidies).
First Kyoto High School Running entirely on Clean Energy
- A building (Figure 6) consumes: 13 times less heat and 22 times less electricity (less than 5 kWh/m2 annually);
- 500 high school students and apprentices since September 2009.
Eco-Homes and Buildings
- Support for 1,000 low energy consumption wooden houses;
- thermal renovation of social housing;
- development of an industrial sector to construct eco-homes for less than 80,000 euros;
- 1,200 new public housing schemes built to very high energy efficiency standards have been supported.
Priority Development of Rail Transport
- 500 million euros invested since 2004 to develop rail supplies;
- 65% increase in use in five years;
- A pioneering region with: the utilization of solar energy with solar panels, use of biofuels, low energy consumption trains (Figure 8).
- The first pilot unit producing eco-fuels using seaweed culture;
- An experimental project to produce ethanol biofuel using waste from plant cell walls;
- Two biofuel production units based on oleaginous plants using hexane free technology.