Greater Lyon: a major hub for the energy sector

The Rhône-Alpes region is France’s foremost region for energy and electricity production (20.6% of the national total), contributes significantly to research in the sector and is now in a promising position for the development of renewable energies.

In order to continue this leading position, the region has developed innovation networks specialising in this field, like the TENERRDIS competitiveness cluster.

The energy sector directly employs approximately 25,000 people in the Rhône-Alpes region. It is also a favourable environment for the development of all technologies linked to the production, transport, distribution and use of electricity. The region is Europe’s most important in terms of the construction of installations for electricity production units. The Lyon research hub is a world reference in procedures which allow materials to be produced at a lower energy cost, but with higher performance (chemical catalysis procedures).


Photo introduction_energie

  • Key Figure
  • Europe’s premier region for energy production (120 TWh / 30mtep)
  • 21% of France’s primary energy production
  • 25% of national electricity
  • The world’s largest pool of experts in the field: 100,000 jobs (dense network of SMEs),2,000 public and private researchers
  • World leader in the nuclear sector


The solar power sector is boosting businesses and creating jobs but faces significant industrial challenges associated with its development. For a number of years, the Greater Lyon authorities have been creating urban development projects and public policies which take into account new criteria needed to make the Lyon area a sustainable city. A number of experiences have been initiated over the past few years.

Some examples of initiatives which should be highlighted in order to encourage a development dynamic include:

  • solar power production installation on one of the terraces of a local authority building, giving an annual production of 34,000 kWh
  • thermal and solar energy installations in the “la Darnaise” group of buildings, with almost 740 residential units, allowing lower energy bills
  • the central solar installation of the second park and ride site in Vaise, which allows the production of “clean” electricity and minimal consumption.


Climatic engineering includes all techniques relating to heating, ventilation, air conditioning and regulation which allow one or more elements, i.e. air temperature, humidity or air quality/hygiene to be controlled within an enclosed environment (building, room, vehicle, etc.) Companies producing equipment for ventilation or refrigeration are well represented in the Rhône-Alpes region (115 manufacturers, 17% of all companies operating in the sector in France). This proportion is even higher when you take into account the number of employees (6,800 people according to 2008 figures from UNEDIC, which is 27% of the national total for manufacturers alone).
The sector is also benefitting from new norms for refrigeration and air conditioning systems which use HCFC R22 refrigeration gas or other HCFC type fluids (the sale of R22 is being stopped at the end of 2014).


Rhône-Alpes is the number one French region and one of the foremost regions in the world for the production of nuclear power. The whole production chain is represented, from research activities which are fundamental to the design of and construction of power stations, to the production of fuel, engineering, maintenance and deconstruction of installations.
More than a third of the French patents for nuclear techniques were invented in the Rhône-Alpes region. Numerous regional industrial activities are linked to the nuclear sector: metallurgy of special metals, surface treatments, mechanics, chemistry (procedural engineering), electricity and electronics (electrotechnics, robotics), industrial technology (supervision, control and command systems).

The four nuclear centres in the Rhône-Alpes region are situated next to the river Rhone in four of the different regional départements:

  • Bugey – Saint-Vulbas (Ain),
  • Saint Alban (Isère),
  • Cruas–Meysse (Ardèche)
  • Tricastin – Pierrelatte (Drôme).


Already recognised around the world for using lighting to illuminate local sights of interest, the Rhône-Alpes region has the ability to make lighting both a key element of its regional attractions and one of the main axes of its economic development. The Rhône-Alpes region boasts a high level of skill right across the lighting sector. Light design is particularly well represented in the region and regional know-how is recognised internationally. There are also a large number of regional research laboratories specialising in lighting which are also recognised and visible on an international scale.

In terms of careers relating to the installation of lighting equipment, the region is in second position on a national scale. The influence and importance of the Rhône-Alpes region in the lighting sector is illustrated by the only lighting cluster in France, based in Lyon, as well as the Lumiville trade fair.

  • Chiffres Clés 
  • Première région productrice d’énergie en Europe (120 TWh / 30mtep)
  • 21% de la production d’énergie primaire en France
  • 25% de l’électricité nationale
  • Plus grand groupement mondial d’experts en la matière : 100 000 emplois (dense réseau de SME)
  • 2 000 chercheurs publics et privés
  • Leader mondial du nucléaire


They are already in Lyon and developing the market:


CNR irstea


bw eddyfil






To support your company’s R&D projects and assist with the recruitment or training of your future employees








To develop synergies with the actors in your sector

More information about Lyon's networks of Excellence, contact us !