RTE uses the practice of crowd funding to enhance the acceptability of its new power lines. The money raised via this approach is complemented by RTE with some funding available via the PAP (Plan d’Accompagnement de Projet), a financing tool agreed with the French government through a public service contract, to finance the sustainable economic development of the areas affected by the construction of new power lines.
In January 2016, RTE launched the webpage ‘My territorial projects’ on the crowd funding platform ULULE. On the page, users can pitch entrepreneurial, cultural, agricultural or a number of other projects which RTE co-finances once they have reached their crowd-funding goal.
According to the public service contract signed between RTE and the government, RTE has to finance actions of sustainable economic development in the area where it undertakes the construction of overhead high voltage lines. The crowd funding practice is a way of honouring that contract and at the same time closely involving citizens into the selection of the projects benefiting from the PAP by having them develop projects themselves or support projects they deem useful for the community. In order to ensure their feasibility, the projects proposed on the website for crowd funding were pre-selected by RTE and its project partner ULULE, who supported RTE in developing this participatory financing solution. A call for projects was launched to identify suitable projects ideas. Two and a half months later, 15 projects were selected and two of them have already been financed successfully through crowd funding and implemented. The others are still in the funding period.