Supporting renewable energy generation and the energy refurbishment of buildings while meeting the financing needs of project promoters throughout the region – this is the aim of a financing agreement totalling EUR 300 million signed by France’s Centre Region and the European Investment Bank (EIB), in partnership with Banque Populaire Val de France et Caisse d’Epargne (BPCE Group) and Crédit Agricole.

This operation is being jointly financed by the EIB with a EUR 150 million credit line channelled through two partner banks: Crédit Agricole and Banque Populaire Val de France et Caisse d’Epargne (BPCE Group). These two bank groups will together match this loan with a further EUR 150 million to cofinance this major regional renewables and energy efficiency project. The local partner banks will make available to project promoters throughout the region a total package of EUR 300 million in the form of loans with favourable interest rates. The Regional Guarantee Fund, in partnership with Oséo, will also be mobilised to support the initiatives of very small, small and medium-sized enterprises – clearly improving the loan terms offered to small businesses, including farms.

At the signing ceremony, the Centre Region’s President, François Bonneau, said: “With this EIB contribution to our regional fund, Europe is giving its backing to a new development marked by the economic management and diversification of energy within an innovative economy creating sustainable jobs”.

EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive welcomed the signing of the agreement, saying: “I am delighted with this quality partnership with the Centre Region in support of this important green growth programme. Promoting renewables and energy efficiency is an EU priority and a key element of regional economic development that contributes directly to improving the quality of people’s daily lives”.

The programme financed is unique in France in terms of both the range of energy forms involved (solar, wind, biomass, biogas, geothermal) and the diversity of the projects targeted – to which can be added the improvement of the energy performance of buildings. It is specifically designed to optimise the partners’ capacity for action and enhance the leverage effect.

This new show of commitment to a French Region is fully in line with the EIB’s priority climate action, in which it invested EUR 1.4 billion in France in 2011. It is also indicative of the Bank’s support for French local and regional authorities, to which it devoted EUR 1.7 billion in 2011, accounting for more than a third of its lending in the country.

See the press briefing