By Karen Ferrel, Staff Writer
Representatives from the French region, Pays de la Loire and its capital Nantes have been seen walking around this year’s San Francisco Green Festival. The French region is strongly committed to sustainable development and marine renewable energy in particular.
Following the example of Denmark and Germany, France has recently decided to start to convert offshore winds to energy. The coastal region of the Pays de la Loire is a key geographical area for the development of this new industry expected to create 8,000 jobs within 10 years. It hosts the world’s largest offshore wind turbine project.
In addition to existing expertise in the shipbuilding industry, there are already several small and medium-sized businesses actively involved this new market. The region also benefits from relevant training with 77 schools, 6300 students and apprentices specializing in metallurgy and electricity, and 2,000 graduate students in engineering.
Nantes, the Region’s capital, has been nominated the 2013 European Green Capital, following Stockholm and Hamburg. The city has taken a leadership role in alternative transportation, the fight against global warming, water conservation, creating green areas in the heart of the city, and encouraging citizen participation in major public decisions.
By participating in the Green Festival, the team from Nantes intends to make contacts for their own conferences in 2013 that will promote the Green Capital to Europe and to the world: the World Green Infrastructure Congress (September 9-13), the Ecocity conference (September 25-27), the 3rd Annual Conference of the Mexico City Pact (230 cities worldwide including Copenhagen, Dakar, Mexico, engaged in the reduction of greenhouse gas).