This Study takes stock of the dynamics of citizen and participatory renewable energy projects in France, focusing on three issues: the analysis of regulatory developments in France since the Energy Transition Act of 2015 and its impacts on the development of citizen and participatory projects; the evaluation of the "participatory bonus" introduced in calls for tenders in France in 2016, and the approaches implemented in Germany and the Netherlands; the challenges related to the transposition of the European Directive on renewable energies into French law, identifying potential implications for the support of citizen and participatory projects.
- Citizens' motivations for involvement in projects are diverse, from the willingness to invest their savings to the collective management of a local project. The diversity of participatory models is therefore an asset to meet these expectations. However, it seems essential to differentiate between approaches focused solely on financial participation and those aimed at involving local actors in the governance of a project on a long-term basis: while pursuing similar objectives, their operations, benefits and constraints remain different.
- Because of these specificities, it is difficult to support all these participatory models through a single policy instrument, in this case the participatory bonus. This scheme has contributed significantly to the growth of renewable energy crowdfunding since 2016. However, the change in conditions introduced in 2018 could significantly slow down this dynamic, without facilitating the participation of citizen projects in calls for tenders.
- The simplification of the participatory bonus thus seems essential to preserve France's pioneering role in the participatory financing of renewable energies. In parallel, it is important to seize the opportunities emerging from the new 2018 Renewable Energy Directive to support the development of "renewable energy communities", through the preservation of openly accessible support mechanisms in the short term and by introducing preferential rules to encourage their participation in tenders in the medium term.
- To meet these challenges, the development of a national strategy for participatory renewable energy projects seems essential, in order to clarify the respective roles and objectives for crowdfunding and citizen projects until 2030, while enhancing their complementarity in terms of fostering local ownership.