The European Investment Bank (EIB) and RGREEN INVEST have announced a new step in their partnership with the first investment in France’s methanization sector. € 5 million of equity will be invested in Méthajoule, located in the French region of Auvergne Rhône Alpes, by RGREEN INVEST’s INFRAGREEN III fund.
Since RGREEN INVEST’s INFRAGREEN III launch, the EIB has invested € 50 million, enabling the fund to close above its raising objectives at € 307 million in December 2018.
As part of the European Strategic Investment Fund’s “Juncker Plan”, the EIB financial contribution serves to remove obstacles to investment, provide visibility and technical assistance to investment projects as well as to make smarter use of financial resources. INFRAGREEN III’s objective of investing in real assets of the energy transition industry, with particular focus on renewable energy sources located in France and the European Union, will be achieved through targeting photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, biomass, methanization and energy efficiency energy projects – fulfilling the above directives.
INFRAGREEN III and Méthajoule, a French company specialized in building and operating renewable energy production plants, have both signed a partnership agreement aimed at supporting methanization projects located in France (at up to € 10 million).
The first project is a 500 kW-e/400 kW-th agricultural cogeneration methanization unit. Currently under construction, the plant is located in Sainte-Eulalie, in the French department of Cantal, and will produce electricity that will be sold to the main French operator EDF. The heat capacity will be recycled by a 620-metre long heating network covering an industrial area. Part of the biogas will also be used as bioGNV to supply the garbage trucks of the local council Pays de Salers community. This partnership should enable the development of a major player in the methanization sector with a strong local exposure, with local actors potentially being offered a stake in capital eventually. Initially set at € 5 million, RGREEN INVEST’s investment may then gradually increase to € 10 million.
Nicolas Rochon, President of RGREEN INVEST, states: “This investment shows INFRAGREEN III’s and RGREEN INVEST’s will to be anchored locally and promote the circular economy “. Indeed, inputs are supplied mainly from local farms with the average radius of material’s collection and redistribution being less than 15 km. In addition, this unit is going to be a pilot project for the implementation of an innovative process related to residue composting.
Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President, adds: “This deal is very important to the EIB, which is the bank of the European Union. Through RGREEN INVEST’s fund, this shows Europe can help farming industry to develop locally; in addition, this first step into the methanization sector is an important milestone in our strategy development to fight climate change”.
Olivier Bouttes, President of Méthajoule, is delighted with this partnership: “Our ambition lies in adding value to local resources by producing renewable energy, fostering the circular economy and local planning. This agreement, with financial partners who share our values, creates optimal conditions to amplify the roll-out of our projects. This allows us to strengthen our position in the development, building and operation of local methanization units, thus contributing to a promising sector”.
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