France: Banque des Territoires launches online anaerobic digestion toolbox for the agricultural world with EU support
2 March 2021
An advisory and engineering platform to enable farmers to implement their anaerobic digestion projects under the best possible conditions
This initiative comes under the European Green Deal aimed at making the European Union the first greenhouse gas-neutral economy by 2050.
Banque des Territoires, with support from the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) – a partnership between the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) – has developed an online anaerobic digestion toolbox that has been accessible since 26 February: https://www.toolbox-methanisation.fr. It provides information and makes tools available to promoters of farm-based anaerobic digestion projects to help them prepare the evaluation and structuring of the basic economics of their project. This toolbox is designed to optimise project organisation and provide advisory services to promoters of small-scale regional anaerobic digestion projects.
This “anaerobic digestion toolbox” is an advisory and engineering platform to enable farmers to implement their anaerobic digestion project under the best possible conditions. It aims to strengthen the partnership forged between Caisse des Dépôts, of which Banque des Territoires is one of the five arms, and the EIB since 2013. It extends their cooperation in the field of technical assistance through EIAH, which has developed since 2016. This initiative reaffirms the commitment of Banque des Territoires and the EIB to the European Green Deal, which aims to make the European Union the first greenhouse gas-neutral economy by 2050.
“Understanding the challenges of farm-based anaerobic digestion”. The aim of this pillar is to explain how the anaerobic digestion process works and the technical aspects required to achieve it, encourage users to ask the necessary questions before embarking on such a project and share video feedback from farmers already committed to the process. A panorama of participants in the farm-based anaerobic digestion ecosystem complements this first step.
“Structuring the project”. The anaerobic digestion toolbox enables the scale of the project to be determined at this stage. Elements are made available to farmers to plot their approach: they can identify the project’s different phases and related legal arrangements (e.g. the types of existing contracts) and seek to grasp the challenges of raising bank debt.
“Mastering the economics of the project.” This pillar involves a teaching dimension and offers the benefits of a true ‘step-by-step’ resource via an online ‘calculator’ and business plan models. The basic concepts are explained and then put into practice using sample projects. Lastly, the users can access directly a simplified business plan simulation.
Anaerobic digestion is a natural biological process of degradation of organic matter by micro-organisms. This degradation leads to the production of biogas and a digestate, the residue from the process, which can be used as a fertiliser. This method serves to recycle agricultural waste, produce renewable energy locally and stabilise or even create local jobs that cannot be relocated, all as part of a circular and sustainable economy.
EIAH will provide more than half of the financing for this advisory tool, with Banque des Territoires contributing the remainder. Banque des Territoires, with the support of the European Investment Advisory Hub (Advisory Hub or Hub) – a partnership between the European Commission and the European Investment Bank – commissioned Naldéo Group to implement this tool.
“The anaerobic digestion toolbox helps to guide promoters of regional projects who are introducing a farm-based anaerobic digestion system. Our contribution, in conjunction with the EIB, forms part of the operational implementation of the Caisse des Dépôts Group’s recovery plan, whose priorities for greater regional sustainability include energy and environmental transition”, said Olivier Sichel, Director of Banque des Territoires.
“This ‘toolbox’ has true engineering value added for the sector, e.g. a ‘calculator’ for users to estimate their digester’s capacity and a tool designed to simulate a future business plan. It enables regional project promoters to ask the right technical, legal, economic and financial questions and provides the structured answers needed for the project to run smoothly”, explained Philippe Leroy, Investment Director and Head of the Environment and Resource Development Division of the Energy and Environmental Transition Department of Banque des Territoires.
“We look forward to the launch of this new portal for farmers so that they can be better advised and supported in their farm-based anaerobic digestion projects, which will enable them to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and diversify their energy mix. Such projects are key for the agricultural world to be able to reduce its carbon footprint in a circular economy”, said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “As the EU climate bank, the EIB is proud to support this initiative through the European Investment Advisory Hub, thus strengthening the Bank's long-standing partnership with Caisse des Dépôts.”
“This Banque des Territoires project, supported by the EIB and the European Investment Advisory Hub, demonstrates how targeted support can help agricultural businesses to convert their natural methane emissions into biogas and diversify their energy supply”, stated Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission. “It is a real success, both for the environment and for the economy, as local jobs and skills are created thanks to this project.”
The European Investment Advisory Hub is a partnership between the European Investment Bank Group and the European Commission established under the Investment Plan for Europe. This hub is designed to serve as a single point of access for various types of advisory and technical assistance services. Its remit is to help identify, prepare and develop investment projects across the European Union. Its advisors work directly with project promoters to formulate a set of tailored advisory services in support of investment projects.
About Banque des Territoires
Set up in 2018, Banque des Territoires is one of the five arms of Caisse des Dépôts. It brings in-house regional expertise together within a single structure. It is a single point of entry for clients, providing made-to-measure advice and financing solutions for loans and investments to meet the needs of local authorities, social housing associations, local public enterprises and legal professionals. It is aimed at all French regions, from rural areas to large cities, with the objective of eliminating social and regional inequalities. Banque des Territoires is represented by 16 regional offices and 35 local branches of Caisse des Dépôts to enhance visibility and proximity to its client base.
The EIB, represented by its Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, and Banque des Territoires, represented by CEO of Caisse des Dépôts Eric Lombard, have signed a partnership to develop an “Anaerobic Digestion Toolbox” that will be deployed on the internet by 2021. This tool is designed to better structure projects and will serve to provide advisory services to promoters of small-scale regional anaerobic digestion projects in the areas of technical, legal and financial structuring and, in particular, access to bank financing.
With the backing of the European Investment Advisory Hub set up by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB), Banque des Territoires is launching “S’GREEN+”. This development aid initiative will provide 25 cities participating in the City Centre Action programme with operational support as they roll out their climate change adaptation projects.
The EIB and Caisse des Dépôts are making a new €1 billion credit line available. With this financing, the third of its kind, Caisse des Dépôts, through Banque des Territoires’ lending arm, can continue to provide the public sector with fixed-rate loans in addition to its traditional products and services. This move confirms the strength of the partnership struck by Caisse des Dépôts and the EIB in June 2013 to provide sustainable investment projects throughout France with fresh impetus.