e-mare Project : Socio-Anthropology of Renewable Marine Energies in Basse-Normandie

Supervised by Salvador Juan and Frédérick Lemarchand

Le Grenelle de l'environnement intends to double the share of renewable energies by 2020, and Basse-Normandie region  is amongst the first national resources, since it is exposed to the winds and streams dominating the Channel and North Sea littoral. Protests can be expected though (as some already happened outside Basse-Normandie), especially against the establishment of offshore and onshore wind turbines. The object of this research is to analyze the system of actors in favour of or protesting against the already announced projects of establishment of new power plants on the Basse-Normandie coast. Its aim is to follow and analyse the whole settling process - planned but also undetermined - of renewable sea power plants in Basse-Normandie. Our socio-anthropological approach goes further than the "costs/benefits" analysis, in order to study the representation of these issues, (especially those concerning energy and development), in the collective imagination. The interest of this work is to go beyond the "environmental externality model" and to offer a richer and more realistic (no-model) approach of the representations inhabitants have of their surroundings.

           This research will be conducted over three years. Using the experiences of the already existing or contested energy infrastructures on the Channel coast (Rance, Dieppe, Caen), around a hundred semi-structured interviews of the different types of coast-users will be made: fishermen and other sea and hospitality business workers, shellfish farmers and pickers, environment and leisure associations related to the littoral, pleasure boaters, tourists, inhabitants, etc. Besides, specific interviews will be made of "inside informants" and "experts" (Conservatoire du littoral, DREAL, ADEME, other operators, or their European counterparts). These interviews are to be completed by document analysis (press reviews and "grey" literature) and by  direct participant observation of groups set by environmental administrations or by us : "research - action" enabling us to include the investigation  in a reflexive process integrating the evolution of actors' positions.