The OPEN-C Foundation, Europe’s largest offshore testing facility dedicated to floating wind turbines and renewable marine energy, was announced last week by ten public and private founders (Ifremer, Centrale Nantes, ITE France Énergies Marines, EDF, RTE, TotalEnergies, Technip Energies, Valorem, Valeco, Énergie de la Lune).
The OPEN-C Foundation is the result of three years of teamwork, and it will be tasked with organizing, planning, and managing offshore experiments for floating wind turbines, tidal energy, wave energy, offshore hydrogen production, and floating solar systems. It is a high impact project which claims that it will contribute to a more rapid energy transition and to enhancing France’s position on these strategic issues.
OPEN-C Foundation missions:
- Develop offshore infrastructure: develop existing test sites and create new test sites
- Operate and maintain offshore test sites
- Support prototype and technological component testing
- Encourage investment in infrastructure through sponsorship
- Ensure environmental monitoring and site characterization
- Disseminate knowledge to the scientific community and the general public
- Train staff to manage and maintain the test sites
- Consolidate the national Marine Renewable Energy sector
The announcement of this project comes just a few days after the European Commission proposed the Net-Zero Industry Act on March 16th to scale up clean technology manufacturing in the EU and ensure the Union is well-equipped for the clean-energy transition. In addition to that, on March 22, the EU agreed to the world’s first green shipping fuels law in favor of at least 2% mandate for green shipping fuels by 2025, compared to the latest agreement of a mandate by 2030.
Welcoming innovative, ambitious and new technology demonstration projects
The Foundation aims to enable several major global innovations to become more reliable over the next three years, including the testing of five separate prototypes of second-generation floating wind turbines, the production of offshore hydrogen energy and the testing of floating photovoltaic systems. According to the Foundation, for a project leader, the use of a test site such as that of the OPEN-C Foundation makes it possible to accelerate and de-risk experiments with high stakes while benefiting from facilitation levers such as authorizations, connection infrastructures, site characterization data and feedback from research teams.
Funding and governance: 10 founders and 5 regions involved
The first Board of Directors of the OPEN-C Foundation, which brings together 10 founding partners and qualified persons, will meet in the coming days to elect the office and its president who will appoint a general manager whose mission will be to animate the foundation on the operational level.
The first 10 years of operation provide for a consolidated budget of €400 million in projects, combining around two-thirds private funding for one-third public funding.
Five Regions historically involved in the development of this new industrial sector have also supported the project: Normandy, Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Occitanie and the South Region. They will be represented by qualified personalities on the Board of Directors.
Alongside the 10 founders and the five regions, there will also be representatives from the world of fishing, associations for the defense of the environment, research and the economic world, a source of discussions that are sometimes engaged but promise of balanced decisions.
Today, the implementation of the energy transition leads to the active search for solutions. Marine renewable energies (MRE) will undoubtedly be part of the answer. Today a major acceleration in the development of MREs is underway and sea trials are an absolute condition for technological innovation in this field.
…said Bertrand Alessandrini, forerunner of the foundation and coordinator of marine infrastructure at Centrale Nantes
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