Engie said it has secured a power purchase agreement for an 18 MW solar plant it plans to build in Fanjeaux, a commune in Aude department, southern France. The group said it aims to start construction at some point in the coming year, with operations to begin in June 2021.
The Fanjeaux site will also be used for sheep farming, in line with Engie’s commitments with the Aude agricultural authorities, it added. Group subsidiary Engie Solutions will sell all of the annual output from the Fanjeaux project, currently projected at 25 GWh, to its customers.
“They will therefore benefit from a direct supply of electricity from renewable sources, durably competitive as part of a global solution based on an energy performance contract, district heating or cooling network, production and distribution of green hydrogen,” it said.
In a separate development, Engie announced plans to shut down 1 GW of coal-fired generating capacity in Latin America. At the ongoing COP25 conference in Madrid, the energy giant said it would close a number of coal-fired units in Chile by 2024, including a 334 MW plant in Mejillones, 170 MW spanning two units in Tocopilla, and two other units at the same site with a combined capacity of 270 MW. In Peru, the group will shut down the 135 MW Ilo 21 plant, which opened nearly two decades ago, by 2022. The facilities are mainly used to power mining activities in northern Chile and Peru.
In parallel to these developments, the group announced a 1 GW solar and wind development plan for Chile last week, with a planned investment of up to $1 billion. The first two projects in the plan – the Capricorn Solar Park and the Calama Wind Site – are currently being built. Construction will start on a third project, the Tamaya Solar Park, in the first quarter of 2020. However, at roughly 370 MW combined, the three projects represent a mere fraction of Engie’s full 1 GW plan.