French energy giant Engie and France-based independent power producer Neoen have announced a plan to build Europe's largest solar-plus-storage plant near Saucats, a municipality in the Gironde department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.
The €1 billion project, which will also include a green hydrogen production unit, an agrivoltaic plant, and a data center, will be developed outside the tender scheme for solar managed by the French energy regulator CRE.
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The electricity generated by the plant will be sold through power purchase agreements (PPAs) to unspecified customers. “We want to demonstrate that solar photovoltaic energy is today mature, reliable, and competitive enough to ensure the direct supply of electricity to industrial companies,” the two companies said in a joint statement.
In December, France's National Commission for Public Debate (CNDP) contacted all the entities interested in the project – Engie, Neoen, French grid operator RTE and the City of Saucats – and decided to organize a public debate that would allow the local population to participate in its development. “We want to develop a new model of renewable energy production, placing both technical and economic innovation at the center of its development, and respect for the environment,” Engie and Neoen said.
In the New Aquitaine region, the goal is to reach 8.5 GW of solar PV power generation capacity by 2030. It currently has 2 GW installed. As such, the project alone would represent more than 15% of the region's projected growth, and if it obtains all the necessary permits, commissioning would take place in 2026.
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