EUR 70m is to be provided – in the 100th Juncker Plan financing operation in France – to SORÉGIES, SRD and SERGIES, which are part of the ENERGIES VIENNE Group, one of the biggest local energy distribution companies. The finance contract was signed officially yesterday in Poitiers by Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), who took the opportunity during his visit to the Vienne department to inspect a model project currently being constructed by SERGIES – the photovoltaic power plant in Dangé-Saint-Romain – in the presence of local figures, officials and elected representatives, including Chairwoman of the ENERGIES VIENNE Group Nicole Merle, MEP Elisabeth Morin-Chartier and local MPs Jean-Michel Clément and Nicolas Turquois.

Renewable energy development, deployment of smart meters, extension and renewal of gas and electricity networks: this new financial envelope is designed to help continue the Group's ambitious “ENERGIES VIENNE 2025” investment programme, which is set to total EUR 600m by 2025. This programme is fully in line with the Investment Plan for Europe, commonly known as the Juncker Plan, of which one of the key objectives is to support the implementation in the European Union of strategic energy projects for the future. Thanks to the EU guarantee, ENERGIES VIENNE will benefit from particularly attractive financial terms with a long-term loan tailored to this type of project.

“We are delighted to sign this 100th Juncker Plan operation in France in Vienne in such a strategic sector as renewable energy”, said Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle at the signing ceremony.  “This is a flagship financing operation for the EIB as it is our first direct loan to a local semi-public company in the energy sector in France. I would like to see this kind of financing repeated in many other regions. This maiden loan sends a strong signal to businesses and promoters. Thanks to the Juncker Plan, their energy projects can now benefit directly from an accessible EU loan tailored to the development needs of this sector.”

“Syndicat ENERGIES VIENNE, which groups together the local authorities in Vienne, has for a century built the department’s energy future”, noted Nicole Merle, Chairwoman of the ENERGIES VIENNE Group. “We are currently in the development phase for smart networks and renewable energy. The Group leads the field in renewables in France. This EIB financing will help speed up these developments even further.” Philippe Chartier, Chairman of the Executive Board of SORÉGIES, highlighted “the industrial benefit of the support provided by the European Investment Bank, a first-rate EU banking institution, whose strategic priorities perfectly match those of the ENERGIES VIENNE Group.”

The culmination of 16 months of support

This financing agreement is the culmination of 16 months of discussions between the ENERGIES VIENNE Group and the European Investment Bank (EIB), who first came into contact in 2013. During this 16-month period the Group overhauled its capital structure before it was considered eligible for financing under the Juncker Plan by the EIB at the beginning of 2017. Throughout the rest of the year the EIB visited the Group’s companies and performed in-depth technical, legal and financial audits. This EUR 70m loan brings this whole period of exchanges and support to a happy conclusion.

The loan will be disbursed at the request of the ENERGIES VIENNE Group, in several tranches, according to the companies’ requirements and the following breakdown: EUR 10m for SORÉGIES, EUR 27m for SRD and EUR 33m for SERGIES.

A project accelerator

This EIB loan will enable the ENERGIES VIENNE Group to speed up the implementation of its projects to realise its development aims vis-à-vis the department, the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region and the country as a whole.

Ground-mounted photovoltaic power plants account for EUR 22.5m of the overall EIB loan of EUR 70m. This sum will also help finance two other plants in Vienne, in Saint-Sauveur and Pindray.

A key element to achieve one of the Group's main goals is to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix from 20% to 45%.

In the area covered historically by Syndicat ENERGIES VIENNE, part of the EIB loan will be earmarked for the deployment of smart meters and the extension and renewal of electricity networks by SRD, an independent network management subsidiary.

Developing renewable energy in neighbouring regions

The ENERGIES VIENNE Group will also be able to extend its expertise to other regions, e.g. by continuing SORÉGIES’s expansion of gas networks in Vienne but also in Vendée, Indre-et-Loire and Maine-et-Loire. In Maine-et-Loire the company is currently implementing an unprecedentedly large-scale project: a 43 km biogas pipeline which will supply several municipalities in the area of Les Mauges. Up to 50% of biogas produced by three local methanisation units will be injected into this pipeline.