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What is CNR?

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CNR is the concessionary of the River Rhone for the production of hydroelectricity, river transport and agricultural use, and it is France’s leading producer of exclusively renewable energy. A developer of territories, CNR plays a key role in energy transition. Its expertise in the entire value chain of hydro-, solar and wind power and its missions in the general interest make it a major partner in the development and balance of the territories. Its knowhow is also acknowledged internationally.

CNR? Action based on three missions for the benefit of the community

After it was founded in 1933, CNR was entrusted with the concession of the Rhone in 1934, to develop and exploit it in view to fulfilling three missions for the benefit of the community:

  • electricity production,
  • navigation,
  • the irrigation of agricultural land.

To achieve these missions, CNR has designed and built 19 hydropower plants, 19 dams and 14 locks, opened 330 km of navigable waterway between Lyon and the Mediterranean, and developed industrial and port sites. Solidarity lies at the heart of CNR’s actions and it is actively involved in the development of renewable energies (hydroelectricity, solar energy and wind power), in support of territorial development and energy transition.

CNR? A model company

Balanced capital, wealth distributed to the territories, values shared by all: CNR stands out as a model of a virtuous company on several levels. Since 2003, its share capital has been evenly distributed between public and private interests. Public shareholders hold the majority (50.03%) with the Groupe Caisse des Dépôts (33.2%) and local authorities (16.83%). Regarding its private shareholder, the remaining 49.97% of the shares are owned by ENGIE, a world leader in energy.

Thanks to its missions in the general interest, CNR works for the well-being of the territories, with which it works directly, redistributing part of the wealth created from the energies generated (water, wind, sun) in them.

CNR? An actor committed to energy transition

CNR actively participates in energy transition: from now to 2020, its installed capacity in wind power and solar power should reach 4,000 MW. CNR aims to continue as a European leader in renewable energies and become a corporate laboratory for tomorrow’s energies. To do this it invests in innovation with a large number of projects (link to the Innovations page) in:

  • the hydrogen sector,
  • intermittent energy storage,
  • innovative production methods: floating solar power plants, long arrays of panels installed on the crests of dikes, agri-solar systems.

Aware that the combat against climate change with higher temperatures is the major challenge to be overcome, CNR has made 9 strategic commitments. They contribute towards shaping tomorrow’s European energy landscape and answering the question: how can successful energy transition be ensured?

CNR? Priority given to the general interest

The water of the Rhone has always been a common good. That’s why, since CNR was founded, the revenues generated by harnessing the river must benefit all the territories. A rational of general interest reasserted by CNR in 2004 with its missions in the general interest. This has resulted in more than 700 projects carried out in renewable energies, river transport, tourist development and river tourism, and sustainable agriculture. Thanks to its missions in the general interest, the users of the river, the neighbouring population and all the actors involved, are brought together around the common good represented by the Rhone to forge positive impetus for economic development, innovation, employment in the Rhone Valley and energy transition. (link to the MIG page)

CNR? A partner close at hand for the territories

To ensure it remains aware of the reality of the territories crossed by the Rhone and work in close collaboration with them, CNR has installed 4 regional managements: Upper Rhone, Rhone-Saone, Rhone-Isère and Rhone-Mediterranean. This organisation ensures its presence throughput the Rhone Valley and facilitates dialogue. These roots within the territories and its collaborative approach to working with its different partners has allowed CNR to build an environment of collective intelligence capable of fostering innovative projects adapted to territorial realities.

CNR? Unique and internationally acknowledged expertise

CNR means 85 years’ experience on the Rhone. The knowhow of its teams covers the entire value chain, including studies, designs, operation, overhauling the installations and selling the electricity produced. This unique expertise is exported to other countries around the world to assist projects requiring the very best in hydroelectric engineering, and river and environmental engineering.

Thinking about the future of rivers

CNR instigated the founding of Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers (IFGR), a non-governmental organisation in the service of the general interest. It brings together a panel of actors who give a voice to rivers. They are river managers, representatives of institutions (basin agencies, national supervisory bodies) and experts (climatologist, anthropologist, economist, historian, etc.). IFGR provides an original forum that is international, multidisciplinary, open to stakeholders and oriented towards action on behalf of the rivers of the world as a whole.

Visit the IFGR website
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