Louis de Fontenelle, Energy Dedicated to Research

Louis de Fontenelle

Louis de Fontenelle is an Associate Professor of Public Law and holder of the MOVE Chair. He devotes his work to the legal issues of energy and environmental transitions, natural resources and sustainable mobility. Portrait of an energetic and happy teacher-researcher.

On June 18, at the age of 34, Louis de Fontenelle successfully defended his accreditation to supervise research, the last step before obtaining the coveted status of full university professor. The jury met in Pau that day to congratulate him. How could it be otherwise? “I’m a pure local product,” jokes the teacher-researcher, who spent his schooling and built his career in the royal city. From his Law degree to the defense of his thesis on “Public entities, providers of commercial services” in 2015, the Pau campus was his only academic horizon. It was also in Béarn, within gas transport company Teréga, that he landed his post-doctorate research dedicated to the regulation of underground storage facilities. And it was in Pau that he earned his first position as an Associate Professor in 2016.

Today, Louis de Fontenelle is a member of the TREE laboratory, coordinator of the Pau Energy and Environment Law Consortium, holder of the E2S UPPA MOVE (Mobility Evolution Towards Sustainable Development) partnership Chair, and co-pilot of the EnSuITe Hub. He is a fulfilled man: “I love this university, which is a human-sized institution, I have research topics that I am passionate about, I work internationally, and I benefit from favorable conditions. In a word, I am very lucky!”

A pioneer in Energy Law

Louis de Fontenelle’s interest in Energy Law dates back to his time at Teréga, a major player in gas transport and storage infrastructures in Europe. At the time, the young man was still uncertain about his future career, and was afraid of getting stuck in too many theoretical questions. Faced with the reality of the field, he suddenly became aware of the weight of legal issues related to energy transitions. A trigger.

So when UPPA offered him the opportunity to develop a center devoted to Energy Law and to join the Pau Public Law Research Center, which has been transformed since January 2021 into the Joint Research Unit TREE (Energy and Environmental Transitions), he did not hesitate. Philippe Terneyre, his former thesis director, Jean Gourdou and Aurélie Launay welcomed him with open arms.

The project is huge. Together, in 2016, they created the first French public-private consortium dedicated to Energy and Environmental Law, then identified the most relevant topics with stakeholders: subsoil law, regulation of energy markets and networks, new technologies, sustainable mobility, etc. The projects are enriched by the confrontation between academic research and the experience of public and private partners. “E2S UPPA offers a favorable environment in this respect by establishing balanced and well-defined relationships with companies and local authorities, says Louis de Fontenelle. We manage everyone’s expectations without ever losing sight of the general interest.”

A legal expert for transitions

In April 2020, the researcher was appointed to the MOVE Chair, which marked a new stage in his career: it gave him the resources he needed to carry out ambitious projects on the legal challenges of sustainable mobility. There is no shortage of topics: electric scooters, carbon-free air travel, data protection related to digital uses, etc. Whether in the context of the Laboratory, the Consortium or the Chair, the thirty-year-old now has carte blanche to explore innovative areas such as the Almours project, a digital Mobility platform for local authorities designed to encourage travel with low environmental impact.

A new model of society is being born before our eyes, says the researcher. It’s up to us to understand the dynamics of this new model in order to anticipate and provide the best possible support to citizens and stakeholders in the transformation.”


Contact : Louis de Fontenelle