A Great Debate to Accelerate the Energy Transition - Nantes

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Grand Debat - Photo by Le Grand Débat

The metropolis of Nantes turned the energy transition into an opportunity to work on the future of its territory by opening the energy debate and enabling the collaboration between citizens, municipalities, companies, NGOs and other stakeholders. In 2014, Mayor Johanna Rolland and 23 fellow mayors in the Metropolitan Council decided to mobilise a broad range of stakeholders to co-create a common vision to accelerate the energy transition. On April 29, 2016, the council unanimously voted to develop “Le Grand Debat” (The Great Debate), taking local stakeholders’ perspectives into account and promoting initiatives related to the energy transition.

“The roadmap "Nantes, metropolis in transition" affirms a collective ambition that builds on the singularities of an energy transition in Nantes, as they clearly emerged in the debate: a 100% citizen transition, a transition for the benefit of all residents, a transition that values local resources.” - Johanna Rolland, Mayor of Nantes


  • Support multiple stakeholders of the territory to collaborate in the co-creation of the energy transition roadmap for the region;
  • Accelerate the energy transition and ensure that it can benefit to all local inhabitants;
  • Build the foundations for future citizen participation and active engagement of stakeholders.

How it works

  • A participatory process was organised over a period of seven months from mid-September 2016 to March 2017 and involved 53,000 participants and 11,000 contributors from 270 different organizations.
  • The process included 80 events, organized within all of the 24 municipalities of the Nantes Metropolis area. The participatory process was organised under the watch of an independent commission of four citizens who took care of the management and transparency of the process as well as the production of a final report called “Le Grand Debat”.
  • One of the results of “Le Grand Debat” consisted in the development of experimentation activities by 500 citizens with new ways of implementing the energy transition on Nantes’ territory. These activities resulted in the launch of 10 crowdfunding campaigns, the development of 5 new projects, the evaluation of 12 projects led by the Nantes Metropolis and the creation of an “energy conservation” guide.
  • The final report of “Le Grand Debat” on the energy transition was published in September 2017. The report led to the citizen-only commission calling on the Metropolitan Council and local stakeholders to produce a shared roadmap, which was then adopted unanimously by the Council on February 16, 2018.
  • The Roadmap considers an energy transition that provides benefits to all the inhabitants and specifically focuses on mobility and housing issues, valorises 100 percent of local renewable resources and promotes social equality. The roadmap includes 15 ambitions and 33 commitments representing the starting point of a series of actions to be developed with the inhabitants and actors of the territory.

Transformative Potential

Other cities have been inspired by “Le Grand Debat” process and they have implemented similar processes of multi-stakeholders participation and citizens’ empowerment, such as in Cadiz or Viladecans (both in Spain). “Le Grand Debat” represents an inclusive and democratic effort for producing a shared roadmap. In the time to come it will be interesting to understand how the implementation will benefit (or not) from this broad set-up.

More Information

Le Grand Debat website (in French)

Roadmap report from the Nantes Metropolis (in French)

Official website of the city of Nantes

Dialogue Citoyen website (in French)

Promotional Video "200 jours de Grand Débat sur la Transition énergétique" (in French)


Cities of Tomorrow Nantes' Great Debate to Accelerate the Energy Transition