In France, EDF Group subsidiary and energy services provider Dalkia Sud-Ouest (Dalkia) has inaugurated a 3 MW biomass-fired district heat plant in the town of Saint-Affrique located in the Occitanie–Pyrénées–Méditerranée region. The 5.4 km district heating network serves the main buildings of the town including the Emile Borel hospital and the Jean Jaurès school complex.
On May 5, 2017, the town of Saint-Affrique selected SEM Causses Energia – Dalkia Sud-Ouest with the construction and operation of its new heating network as part of a 22-year Public Service Agreement.
On February 10, 2020, the new 3 MW biomass-fired heat plant was inaugurated by Alain Fauconnier, Mayor of Saint-Affrique and President of the Community of Saint-Affrique municipalities, Richard Fiol, President and CEO of SEM Causses Energia and Valérie Patron, Regional Director of Dalkia Sud-Ouest, alongside Carole Delga, President from the Occitanie – Pyrénées-Méditerranée region,
It is with pride and a feeling of accomplishment that we are inaugurating the largest wood heating network for a town of fewer than 10 000 inhabitants. This exemplary and innovative project is the fruit of a political will of the Occitanie region and of its president who drew up the objectives and who gave the means to its territories to contribute to the beautiful challenge of the first region with positive energy. Thanks to the director from the PNRGC who built the economic model to achieve this and thank you to the Region, to ADEME, to Europe. I would like to reiterate my thanks to the players in the sector, to Dalkia and to our institutional partners for their trust. Everything was done for us to give up and we persisted, convinced that we will open up beautiful prospects for our rural territories. Behind this choice, there is employment, more purchasing power for beneficiaries and our contribution to the challenge of the energy mix, said Alain Fauconnier, Mayor of Saint-Affrique and President of the Community of communes of Saint-Affrique in his inauguration address.
Local wood residues
Fuel for the heating plant is supplied by the region’s wood industry of which 86 percent comes from businesses located within a radius of 50 km of the town. The new district heating network will enable the town to reduce the emission of fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) by 2 300 tonnes annually. Heat clients are set to benefit from around a 7 percent reduction in annual energy costs while avoiding price fluctuations on account of fossil fuel price volatility.
Whether here in Saint-Affrique or everywhere else in the territory, the Region aims to move forward with local players towards an ambitious objective, that of becoming by 2050 the first positive energy territory in Europe. This heating network project in which we are investing more than EUR 1 million is unique in France for a town of fewer than 10 000 inhabitants. It shows that in terms of sustainable development we can count on the vision and commitment of our territories and those who support them. It also reminds us in a beautiful way that energy transition does not necessarily rhyme with constraint but that, on the contrary, it can be a source of better living and constitute an important windfall for the local economy, commented Carole Delga, President of the Occitanie–Pyrénées–Méditerranée Region.
The heating network is linked to the Dalkia Energy Savings Center (DESC), Dalkia’s digital energy performance control center, in order to adjust heat production to recipients’ needs in real-time.
We are proud to support the city of Saint-Affrique in its approach to sustainable development, combating fuel poverty and enhancing its attractiveness. This new achievement shows our know-how and our commitment to the regions to support them in their energy transition, said Valérie Patron, Regional Director of Dalkia Sud-Ouest.
Based on a local circular economy concept, the biomass-heat project has also enabled the creation of three full-time jobs.