The Region of Brittany

Population: 3.1 million

Country: France

GHG emissions (year): 20.5 million tons CO2e (net emissions)

Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France, with the highest agricultural output in the country. In 2010, agriculture and fishing accounted for 10% of the country's GDP.

The institution in charge of climate change is the Directorate-Generale of Climate, Environment, Water and Biodiversity. It has the power to set the policy on energy and sustainable development, town planning, waste management and air quality. ADEME, the Environment and Energy Agency, sets energy policy and is significant nationally. 

Brittany targets greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions of 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, in line with current EU targets. In addition, it will look to produce 20% of its primary energy and 34% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. 

Brittany also aims to be an exemplar of sustainable development, and its environmental policy covers many areas. These include the preservation of natural heritage, improvement of water quality, an ambitious energy policy to encourage clean and renewable energies and the Éco Four programme, which focuses on sustainable urban design.

The Region has great potential for the development of marine and wind power, and it aims to become a center of clean technology innovation. The Government is incentivizing the private sector to develop green tech and citizens to apply these energies in their domestic environment.

The Regional Council’s 2007 Energy Plan focuses on wind power generation, with 1000 megawatts of capacity being constructed in 2012, 1,500 megawatts by 2015, and 2,800 megawatts by 2020, from both land-based and offshore farms.

The Eco-Energy Plan is also underway, which helps consumers cut their energy bills through efficiency and smart metering, and useful tools such as the Ecowatt website; 30,000 households are already connected to the EcoWatt program.

Since 1981, Brittany has also increased the area of its forests by a third to cover 13% of the territory, and in 2008, Brittany adopted the UN’s Agenda 21 initiative for sustainable development, which includes objectives for sustainable tourism.

  • Current activities

    On November 16, 2011, the Regional Council of Brittany, Caisse des Dépots public Bank, the SADIFI – EDF subsidiary, Arkea, and Crédit Cooperatif cooperative banks, created Eilañ Publi-Private Fund for renewable energy. 

    Eilañ, which means “assist” in Breton, seeks to invest in grassroots projects in the territory. Eilañ assists small and medium-sized projects requiring between €3 million and €20 million - it has already committed to 12 projects. It will help projects to find partners and facilitate recruitment of investors. The fund started off with €3 million in capital in 2011, and is expected to have €4.7 million in 2014/15, with a target of attracting €100 million from other investors by that date. Two types of projects are being targeted for this trial period:

    • General interest projects: their return on investment is fair but under the general market standards is able to attract speculative investors. However, these projects are critical in helping territories meet their objectives on renewable energy, and the implications go far beyond a good interest rate. Methanization and biomass projects enter into this scope of action.
    • Citizens-investor projects: their return on investment is good but other participating shareholders may want to sell the production site as soon as possible. A strategy which may not be shared by citizen shareholders whether they are just local inhabitants or communities. Because these projects originate from local people, they have an excellent acceptability level.

    Energy efficiency

    The Éco-energie Plan for Brittany has three main objectives: to inform the public about the need for energy efficiency; to encourage uptake of efficiency measures;  and to innovate new ways of being energy efficient.

    The Ecowatt website provides a measure of total grid energy consumption and alerts customers of ways to limit their demand, particularly during peak hours of 6pm to 8pm. Buildings for Low Consumption (BLC) is also to be developed in the region.

    The Pacte Electrique Breton (PEB) – or Breton Electric Agreement – has entered into its operational phase. The agreement binds the Regional Council of Brittany, RTE (the national electricity transport network facility), the ADEME (the national agency for energy) and the ANAH (the national housing agency). Agreed in 2010, the PEB takes into account the very special situation of Brittany on the extreme West of the European continent:

    • The peninsular means electricity networks come from the East of the region.
    • A very low domestic production of electricity (only 9.5%).
    • A strong increase (by current European standards) of the population and the economy explaining a regular growth of 2.6% of electric consumption per year.
    • A great fragility of the supplying network with the risk of a total black-out during severe winter weather.

    Among its objectives are strong energy efficiency commitments, with ambitions to save 950GWh by 2015 and 1,200GWh by 2020 compared to a 2010 baseline scenario. This target is to be achieved by various means:

    • Relying on “Info-Energie” local network offices providing advice through proximity services to citizens.
    • Voluntary incentives to reduce electricity consumption using Energy Saving Certificates (within the Kyoto Protocol framework of action) by 5TWh.
    • Energy saving programs improving energy efficiency private and social housing.
    • Specific programme for farmers especially industrial farms through an Energy performance plan involving 25% of the industrial livestock production units by 2015. 
    • Specific programme for agro-products transformation plants to encourage reductions in energy consumption, as well as substitution of R22.
    • Extended use of the EcoWatt scheme, which provides advice for citizens to reduce energy consumption in peak hours by text message. The scheme has an objective of covering 40% of the Breton population.
    • Increased use of smart metering technology.
    • Training in energy efficiency technologies in the building sector.

    Renewable energy

    Tidal, wind and biomass are the three main sources of renewable energy the region wants to utilize in the future. An Observatory of Energy has been created to follow these projects as well as to follow the impact of these initiatives.

    Brittany has been keeping up with its plan to develop underwater tidal turbines on its Northern coast Paimpol-Brehat facility. The first OpenHydro Irish technology turbine went through a trial period from October 2011 to January 2012, and has now opened the way for three more units. There is now a total production from the first farm of 2 megawatts, supplying 2,000 households. 

    To support this effort, besides co-investing in the projects through land-based equipments, the Breton Regional Council has decided to invest €75 million in Brest (Western Brittany) to install an assembly line of wind and tidal turbines. The site is due to start an entirely new industrial sector with plenty of space available for operators. Eleven hectares are currently being prepared to home the first assembly lines, 15 more are available on the medium term, and 25 hectares on the longer term, for a total of 50 hectares of industrial facilities equipped with deepwater access.

    AILE, the Association of Local Initiatives for Energy and Environment, participates in the PRACTISE intelligent energy project of the European Union, to decentralize the sources of energy as well as encourage uptake of renewable energy. 

    During the last two years Brittany has experienced spectacular growth in sustainable energy production. Figures show that during the period 2010-20 this trend will not weaken, with a 326% increase forecast over this period. The goal is to produce 34% (3,400 megawatts) of Brittany’s electricity by renewable means by 2020. This more than threefold increase in renewable energy generation by 2020 will come from a number of sources:

    • Onshore wind increases from 535-1,800 megwatts. • Offshore wind increases from 0-1,000 megawatts. • Solar (PV) increases from 25-400 megawatts. • Biomass and methanization increases from 0.4-120 megawatts.

    Clean transport

    Transport policy represents 22% of the Government budget. Although the number of passengers by train has risen by 50% since 2002, there are no other clean transport initiatives currently active.

    Sustainable land use

    90% of forests are on private land, and so far 6,100 landowners have signed the Government’s Code of Good Practise.

    The EPF (Etablissement Public Foncier) has also been established. The Public Institution for Property aims to integrate sustainable development in town planning.

    Waste management

    The objectives of the Regional Plan for Dangerous Waste aims to prevent and to reduce the creation of waste, to minimize the impact of waste and to increase recycling and reuse.

    Performance Bretagne Environnement is a program which fosters research and development in the private sector to improve the treatment of waste within private firms. The similar 'eco-conception' initiative promotes cradle-to-cradle product design.

    International collaboration

    The IPANEMA initiative exists to share and collaborate on research of marine energy practices and technology, and Brittany also chairs the European car manufacturing regions network.

    Smart cities

    The L'Éco Faur program focuses on public spaces and landscapes, aiming to rehabilitate neighbourhoods and renovate public buildings. There are projects ongoing in all four Breton departments. In particular, sustainable districts ('quartiers') are being developed in Josselin, Saint-Brieuc-de-Mauron and Bazouges-sous-Hédé. Elsewhere, public buildings are being renovated to high standards of efficiency and sustainability. 335 projects had been completed since 2005 with an annual budget of €34 million.

  • More info
Facebook icon
Twitter icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon