On 6 January, DCNS and three partners set up DCNS Energies, a new company specialising in emerging technologies to generate electricity from marine renewable energies.
To set up DCNS Energies, naval systems group DCNS and sovereign fund Bpifrance joined forces with offshore engineering group Technip and development investor BNP Paribas Développement. The new company aims to develop France’s industrial base in MRE and market its products. The main focus will be on tidal turbines, floating offshore wind turbines, and ocean thermal energy conversion plants.
Majority shareholder DCNS, with a 55% share, has actively pursued R&D in all three technologies for ten years or more. The naval systems group will contribute its MRE assets, including OpenHydro, the Irish subsidiary acquired in 2013. French sovereign fund Bpifrance has a 36% share and Technip and BNP Paribas Développement the remaining 9%. Technip is a world leader in offshore engineering, project management and construction.
To play a leading role in MRE
“We aim to play a leading role in MRE,” says Hervé Guillou, Chairman and CEO of DCNS, before recalling that the group has, over the years, invested €150 million in R&D on tidal turbines, offshore wind turbines and OTEC, or €250m including the purchase of OpenHydro. After years of R&D, prototype development and testing, along with marketing and the establishment of local offices in the most promising markets — and after winning the first contracts — the French MRE industry is about to move up a gear. “We have put in the groundwork and are now ready to advance from a startup to a truly industrial enterprise. To ensure the success of this transformation, we felt that we needed strong partners.”
€100m to start
The success of this transformation hinges on access to significant funding. In addition to some 250 DCNS employees, DCNS Energies will have €100m in equity provided primarily by DCNS and Bpifrance, a public investment bank set up in late 2012. Bpifrance provides financial support for projects, and more particularly innovation-based projects, contributing to French national growth. “DCNS Energies has a strong hand to play. First, the key partners are industrial contractors with proven track records and relevant R&D experience; second, they have stand-out expertise in all three MRE technologies; third, this bundle of energy options should meet the needs of a wide range of clients. This combination of technological resources will benefit, from the outset, from strong know-how in marketing and sales. The company also promises significant economic benefits at the national level. With the MRE market just starting to take shape, now is the time to establish a strong position with a view to future global leadership. This emerging industry promises to create jobs, particularly in and around DCNS’s existing centres in Cherbourg, Brest and Nantes. For Bpifrance, which sees the energy transition as a strategic…
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