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Nantes, France: a "Great Debate" with citizens on the energy transition

By Floriane Cappelletti on 6 October 2016

Nantes Métropole (Nantes’ urban community) - a member of the Energy Cities network - recently launched a series of "Great Debates" (Grands Débats) on three key issues: the river Loire, the energy transition, and the demographic transition. The debates are to last approximately 6 months each, without overlaping.

"To meet the climate challenge, protect the environment and quality of life on our territory, keeping on developing the area in a sustainable manner while tackling social inquequalities, every opinion matters."*
This is the principle behind the 2nd debate, dealing with the energy transition. And even though the idea is not new, the method which was thoroughly developed by Nantes Métropole is very rich.

Citizens, local governments, businesses and NGOs... All local players are invited to take part in the debate structured around four questions: What life styles? What sceneries? What access to energy? What innovations?

An independent commission made of four randomly-selected citizens will prepare a final report at the end of the six-month debate.

For each of the four questions, the commission conduts interviews with experts under the form of open conferences. Executive Director of Energy Cities Claire Roumet was one of the first experts to be interviewed, alongside philosopher Pascal Chabot. Read the summary of their interviews here (in French).

Executive Director of Energy Cities Claire Roumet, President of Nantes Métropole Johanna Rolland, and philosopher Pascal Chabot.

All local players have the possiblity to contribute by sharing an idea, an innovation, or expressing their thoughts via a dedicated website: www.nantestransitionenergetique.fr.

But Nantes Métropole’s "Great Debate" is also about experimenting. Citizens can be part of one of the six communities with a specific role to play:
"Activators"*... are managers of energy transition projects who are testing the crowdfunding scheme.
"Ingenious"... are adopting new habits to lower their energy bills!
"Roamers"...are taking part in study tours in Nantes Métropole’s area to better understand the issues linked to the energy transition.
"Evaluators"... take a citizen look at public projects and experiments
"Investigators"... are conducting research, testing, discovering, failing, testing again...
"Pioneers"... are taking action and measuring progress as regards waste management, mobility and energy savings.

The full report will take into account the final report from the citizen commission and the feedback from the six communities. The Nantes Métropole Council will analyse the report and evaluate the proposals made. The councillors will have to explain their decision to citizens and present a roadmap for the actions to be undertaken.

We have to admit we feel like participating!

*Translated from French by Energy Cities.

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