Working alongside EDF Group Divisions to face the challenges of adapting to climate change, EDF Lab les Renardières has rare or unique installations to test the performance of equipment under severe or extreme environmental conditions. These facilities thus allow the different EDF Group entities to get concrete information and data to operate their industrial assets, but also to provide services for different clients: equipment manufacturers, grid system operators and instrumentation device operators.

The Large 1200-m3 Climatic Chamber



It allows to test the equipment withstand to cold temperatures down to -40 °C and to hot temperatures up to +60 °C (with 1°C-homogeneity in the useful volume), with ice, humidity and intense sun radiation.

It is a testing facility almost unique in both France and Europe in terms of size and characteristics.


Initially, this room was designed to test electrical equipment under severe conditions, such as large circuit-breakers or disconnectors, to check the capability to operate with an ice layer, for example.Since then, it was progressively used to test other types of equipment. Thus, these last years, EDF Lab Les Renardières has been requested by external clients to test vehicles and other large equipment such as aeronautical or military equipment.

Other uses are possible, in particular to assess the impact of the climate change on the equipment under extreme configurations of “temperature/ UV conditions/ hygrometry (measurement of the humidity rate contained in the air)”.


💡 The expert’s opinion

"As we are the Electrical Equipment Laboratory, people do not primarily have in mind we can perform climatic tests on non-electrical equipment. This is a use we’re trying to spread." ​​​​​​​Stéphane Delgrange, Laboratory Development Manager

The 675-m3 Accelerated Ageing Room

As its name mentions it, this hall allows to qualify, in an accelerated way and with severe multiple environmental constraints, devices equipping substations and grids, usually exposed to external climatic conditions, such as lightning arrestors, insulators, bushings or transformers.

The room is used to test equipment under controlled cycles combining temperature, sun radiation, rain or salt fog, all electrically supplied up to 170kV. The performed tests thus give a good idea of the durability and lifespan of the equipment regarding the user’s expectations.

These are long duration tests - 1.000, 2.000 or even 5.000 h – which can be carried out in compliance with specific international standards or with particular user’s requirements.


💡 The expert’s opinion

"This testing facility, like the two other facilities presented here, is operated by the testing team of the Climatic Group. It consists of technicians and engineers trained to operate the installations and having a perfect knowledge of the climatic tests and the tested equipment." ​​​​​​​Emmanuel Bic, Endurance, Dielectric and Climatic Testing Group Manager

The Martigues Testing Facility

Located just beside the Martigues Gas Combined Cycle Thermal Power Plant.

This facility, located 10-m from the shore of the Mediterranean in a very sunny and very saline environment, is exposed to atmospheric emissions from the neighbouring industries. The equipment being tested, powered with the different voltage levels of the French electricity grid is therefore subjected to severe, but real conditions consolidating the observations and analyses at the end of testing campaigns carried out on this site.

A major facility in Europe capitalising almost 50-year studies.



Most of the equipment being tested are energised, with a remote monitoring infrastructure. In addition to the categories of tested equipment in the accelerated ageing room like for example, lightning arrestors, insulators, bushings or transformers, other non-electrical equipment (transport means, structures, …) can be installed and exposed to the natural ageing local conditions.


💡 The expert’s opinion

"This facility is a great complementary tool to study the devices. Indeed, the combination of natural constraints allows the observation of performances which cannot be simulated using digital means. Our industrial clients use this facility to develop their equipment. They do not hesitate to mention it in both their publications and communications and highlight the robustness of their product because it was tested there." ​​​​​​​Christian Pons, External Insulation Expert Engineer