French energy giants keep investing in renewables

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France’s big energy players are not slowing down in their race to identify and take advantage of new clean energy technologies and developments. Today power provider, Engie and oil group, Total, have each announced new partnership agreements.

Engie has agreed to become partner of Energy Observer, a catamaran propelled by solar energy and hydrogen. The company’s CEO, Isabelle Kocher today signed the partnership agreement with Victorien Erussard and Jérôme Delafosse, which are the captain and the expedition leader of the boat, respectively.

Engie said it will act as a single demonstrator for the project by proving the viability of the boat’s energy production system, which is able to produce its own hydrogen on board, and to combine it with renewable energies such as wind, solar, hydrokinetics, and sea water.

The Total Group, meanwhile, has announced in a separate development that its unit Total Energy Ventures (TEV) has agreed to become a strategic partner of the Cathay Smart Energy Fund, an investment fund dedicated to energy sector in China.

The company’s subsidiary signed the partnership agreement with local investment firms Hubei High Tech and Cathay Capital.

According to Total, TEV and Hubei High Tech will each invest around US$50 million in the fund, for which a target final volume of capital of over $250 million has been set. The fund will invest in renewable energies, energy internet, energy storage, distributed energy, smart energy and low carbon activities.

Total is the parent company of U.S. solar module manufacturer, SunPower. The oil group has also recently started to invest in and increase its R&D activities in solar and renewables.