Ségolène Royal announces EUR 1bn of new EIB loans in support of energy transition in France
"Three months after the enactment of the Law on energy transition for green growth, the funding is ready. EUR 1bn of EIB funds will be provided for concrete projects at the heart of the cities and regions in support of green growth, which generates jobs", said Ségolène Royal, Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Energy, at a signing ceremony with the European Investment Bank (EIB) at COP 21 in the presence of EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle.
On 7 December 2015 the EIB, the European Union's bank, confirmed that it will finance a number of large-scale projects – involving housing, energy efficiency of buildings, support for SMEs and midcaps, and biomass – which will have a direct impact on the daily lives of French citizens. "These loans are of symbolic importance during COP 21 and they illustrate our firm commitment to supporting a green, responsible and efficient economy", remarked EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. "Climate action is a priority for the EIB and is expected to correspond to nearly 40% of our activity in France in 2015."
A financial package of EUR 400m – in partnership with the banks BPCE, Banque Postale and Crédit Agricole SA – will be designated for the construction and rehabilitation of public buildings in France to reduce their energy consumption whilst optimising their energy performance. To be rolled out across France as from January 2016, this project will have a positive impact on employment in parallel with reducing the operating costs of these buildings. Staying with building renovation and energy efficiency, the EIB will in partnership with Crédit Coopératif dedicate EUR 75m to social, educational and cultural structures such as associations, and SMEs, midcaps and agricultural cooperatives. Crédit Coopératif will also benefit from a risk sharing and technical support facility, developed by the EIB with the European Commission under the Private Finance for Energy Efficiency initiative.
Another key project for energy transition in France is the development of biomass. The EIB loan (EUR 112m) to France Biomasse, promoted by Engie, will help to support the construction of four biomass power plants (heat-only or cogeneration, with a capacity of 20-60 MWth) in Forbach, Épinal, Lacq and Nantes. These plants will replace existing fossil fuel-fired facilities. The biomass plants will primarily be fuelled by regional wood. The heat generated will be channelled to district heating systems or industrial users and, in the case of cogeneration, the power will be pumped into the national grid.
Private homes are also at the heart of the EIB's activity in France. As part of an overall programme worth EUR 400m, the European Union's bank has begun financing the first third-party financing companies in order to ensure that private individuals have support and access to "greener", renovated housing that is energy efficient. Thanks to the EIB finance, homeowners will benefit from very attractive lending terms. The EIB has also provided backing of EUR 20m to the first investment fund in France totally dedicated to the "Third Industrial Revolution", in support of entrepreneurs and project promoters.
As one of France's key partners in the fight against the impact of climate change, the EIB has earmarked almost 40% of its activity in 2015 to finance environmentally-friendly, carbon-efficient projects – very substantially exceeding the target of 25% set by the EIB for EU Member States. On the strength of its AAA rating, the EIB offers the beneficiaries very attractive financial terms for an activity that concerns all the key sectors of the French economy.