CRE 3 RFP tender: Towards a green energy in the French islands

Under the Law “Transition Énergétique pour la Croissance Verte”[1], the French Energy Regulation[2] published the 20th of May 2015 its new call for tenders best known as “CRE3 RFP”. To achieve goals of electricity production from renewable energies, this tender mainly aims to bring out and develop large-sized solar projects amounting 50MW with storage in the French islands.

Energy transition in Non-Interconnected zones

Non-Interconnected zones comprise all French islands which are not connected to the mainland’s network and thus do not benefit from interconnection opportunities with other countries and territories. They have specific features regarding grid connexion with, in most cases, a single network operator managing their electric systems: EDF SEI (Insular Electric System). In these regions, power production costs are very significant.

Despite this, they are most suitable for RE and are ahead in this area with a total share of about 25%[3] of power generation. Still, they have considerable disadvantages strongly damaging the safety of generation and electricity supply. France has thus set-up a regulatory solution: indeed, the April 23rd 2008 Decree allows a maximum penetration rate of 30% for intermittent renewables to limit the influence of load imbalance on the grid.

France has also established a plan based on innovation and improvement of RE integration to find a technical solution to network imbalance problems in Non-Interconnected zones: stationary energy storage.

The “CRE3” RFP: towards energy independence

The CRE3 RFP tender is dedicated to the photovoltaic sector and mainly for solar project developers whose innovating projects work for a better RE integration through storage in the non-interconnected zones. The goal of this tender is to implement installations combining PV panels and storage technologies.

It is an innovating initiative, as these installations are completely tailored to insular features and will allow moving towards a more secure electric grid. The distinct features of this new tender make it even more complicated yet very ambitious. Here are its 3 specificities:

  • Ramping: allows smoothing the PV yield curve to limit intermittency problems. To offset over and under production it is necessary to charge the battery peak periods and discharge it in off-peak periods.
  • Peaking: allows generating at a particular period when consumption is at its peak. It is an innovating point given that it is a defined time when the solar plant no longer produces: it is often in the evening.
  • Announcement: allows improvements in the quality of forecasts. Solar energy producers have to present forecasts of time slots during which there are intermittency risks. To obtain relevant forecasts, they work in collaboration with various local players and specialized companies. Announcement offers more reliability and visibility to the grid operator, giving  almost accurate data on the energy that will be injected in his grid.

Unlike most RFPs, which give the exact amount of storage required, CRE3 brings out provides specific rules and guidelines for the PV + storage farm to follow: thus, it is the project developers’ responsibility to find the best solution tailored to meet the RFP’s requirements.

Timing is of the essence

The CRE3 RFP tender has been published in May and closes in November. Given a certain, widespread, lack of knowledge about storage among market participants, the tender’s short timing and its complexity, Clean Horizon believes that a practical solution must be brought to market in order to allow project developers, hardware vendors and integrators to swiftly make a decision on their involvement in the tender. In this context, a tool was developed by Clean Horizon tailored to the CRE3 tender’s requirements: this tool computes the optimal technology and sizing of a storage system as well as the corresponding Levelized Cost Of Energy[4] of a project seeking to address the CRE3 tender.

With a solution typically generated in 24-48 hours, the tool allows market participants to rapidly select partners and projects to focus on. The short turn-around of the tool is essential to leave projects developers enough time for partner identification and consortia constitution in order to be ready for the tenders’ submission deadline in November.

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Written the 19th of June 2015


Clean Horizon is the European consulting company expert in energy storage. Its activities are mainly based on: Market analysis: economic, technical, legislative, regulatory monitoring mainly in Western Europe and North America. Business development: tailor-made studies, business models for storage projects, help for implantation in European and American markets.

[1] Energy Transition for Green Growth
[2] CRE: Commission de Régulation de l’Energie
[3] Source: French Regulation (CRE) website
[4] LCOE : Price at which the actor should sell its energy so that his project reaches its profitability threshold.