Due to the British and French governments committing to reduce CO2 emissions, the marine renewable energy sector has been growing steadily in the recent years. The UK has made installed offshore wind farms and is recognised worldwide for its expertise in the design and manufacture of wind turbines and the development of marine energy in general.
The first UK offshore wind projects were launched in December 2000, followed in 2003 by 15 additional sites, now generating a combined maximum of 7.2 GW (gigawatts) of energy. In 2008, the British government announced a series of 3 new developments, representing a major investment in infrastructure and supply chain energy at sea.
In France in July 2011, the government published a call for tenders for the construction of 5 offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 3 GW, which is approximately 600 wind turbines. This farm project is half the goal of the government, which aims to produce 6 GW by 2020. A second call for tenders was launched in 2012. Among the sites selected is that of Courseulles-sur-Mer in Lower Normandy.
This commitment by the French government allows the creation of a French offshore wind industry and thereby the creation of approximately 10,000 jobs.
The Mer-Innovate project is therefore following in the footsteps of this commitment: creating a Franco-British partnership to establish a true network in the border regions of the Channel in terms of research and innovation, clustering and communication. This project aims to innovate in the area of remote maintenance of wind turbines but also to establish cross-border linkages in the sector of MRE which is common to both sides of the Channel.
Mer-Innovate meets the objective “to promote a common space of citizenship and of a sense of belonging to a cross-border area with a unique identity by supporting concrete and sustainable cooperation activities in a threefold perspective of business innovation and economic competitiveness, social cohesion and sustainable development” of the INTERREG IVA France (Channel) – England project.