French Ardennes, at the cutting edge of the energy mix
Producer of nuclear, hydroelectric, wind and anaerobic digestion energy, French Ardennes region has been running since 2010 a scheme to develop renewable energy production.
The region is now a destination of choice for any company committed to sustainable development thanks to its favourable environment, excellent location close to the rest of France and Northern Europe, industry expertise, attractive tax advantages and more…
French Ardennes are using 30.6% renewable energy as a whole, and the region is experiencing strong sector growth:
- 35 wind farms built (850,000 MWh)
- 20 hydroelectric power stations (60,000 MWh)
- 12 biogas installations (68,000 MWh)
Source : ALE des Ardenne
Renewable energy share in French Ardennes
Source: Ardennes Local Energy Agency (ALE) 2018
In 2018, French Ardennes produced 2,270 GWh of renewable energy. This counts for 30.6% of the Region’s energy consumption.
Biomass and wind energy represent over 90% of the renewable energy produced in French Ardennes. Wind energy and biogas production is above the national average (7.1% for wind).
Hydroelectric energy is produced by converting hydraulic energy (waterfall or flow) into electrical energy.
20 hydroelectric power stations are in operation.
Excellent hydroelectricity production potential:
- New facilities being built
- Existing installations being optimised
EDF Pumped Storage Power Plant (STEP): in Revin – Saint Nicolas – Les Mazures. Ranked 3rd in France for total installed capacity (800 MW available in 2 minutes)
Helliogreen Technologies: Having gone through French Ardennes incubator Rimbaud’Tech, this business has developed a dismantlable micro-turbine that is safe for aquatic species in partnership with additive manufacturing platform PLATINIUM 3D
> 1,278 installations: the installation of solar panels can be a relevant and cost-effective solution in case of roof renovation.
Alvéolaire, French Ardennes manufacturer of polypropylene packaging, is one of the first industries in the Grand Est to have installed self-consumption photovoltaic panels.
This technique produces renewable heat, electricity, gas and fuel. In French Ardennes, most fermented organic matter comes from agricultural run-off.
- 10 agricultural facilities
- 2 industrial installations
An industrial example: Smurfit Kappa Paper Mill in Rethel. Produces biogas by putting sludge from its water treatment plant through an anaerobic digestion process. This biogas is diluted with natural gas and used in the boiler to dry the paper.
H2 DINAMHySE: Launched in March 2019 in the Grand Est region by the DINAMHySE consortium, “Club Hydrogène” aims to speed up hydrogen development as part of the energy transition.
Wood energy (Thermal production)
With over 378,000 acres of woodland and forests, the forestry sector is the main source of wood energy in French Ardennes.
- 17 industrial heating systems
- 52 local authorities
- 10 farms
The 1st- and 2nd-line wood processing industries (sawmills, joiners, etc.) produce scrap wood. These sub-products can be used as fuel.
- 12 permits issued (148 wind turbines/496 MW)
- 17 ongoing projects
Main production area
Grand Est region: 2nd biggest wind power region in France in terms of installed capacity
French Ardennes, has 9,822 MW of installed capacity (see map): equivalent of 70% of France’s total installed capacity
Grand Est and Hauts-de-France are the leading French regions in terms of current projects (over 4,000 MW)
- Wind farm maintenance technician training – Lycée Bazin high school in Charleville-Mézières
- Highly skilled workforce across a range of high-level areas: mechanics, hydraulics, electronic engineering, IT and composite materials
- Global BZEE (Bildungszentrum für Erneuerbare Energien) certification, plus GWO (Global Wind Organisation) certification coming soon
- Partnerships with companies in the wind power sector
Biggest land-based wind farm in France
The “Mont des Quatre Faux” Wind Farm project in the south of French Ardennes on land belonging to the Pays Rethélois and Argonne Ardennaise local council communities, will provide 63 wind turbines that are 200 m tall.
Planned production is over 700,000 MWh a year: equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of over 280,000 people, heating included.
Commissioning expected in 2020.
This available and competitive space, qualified workforce and significant and consistent wind resource will encourage new and developed wind turbine maintenance and production activity in French Ardennes.
Energy sector partners in French Ardennes
- ADEME, Agency for the Environment and Energy Management. This agency offers its expertise and advice to businesses, local authorities and the general public. It also helps to fund projects.
- ALE 08, Ardennes Local Energy Agency. Its main tasks are:
- Providing information, advice and training on issues, techniques and effective energy harnessing methods
- Helps to set up technical, economic, legal and financial projects
In French Ardennes, all players (the French government, local authorities, Chambers of Commerce, energy carriers, the ADEME, ALE 08, etc.) are working together under the Energy Transition Group to develop renewable energies and encourage new economic sectors to emerge in the field.
Climaxion: special regional aid programme. Issued from collaboration between the ADEME, Grand Est Region and French government, Climaxion supports territories as they implement tangible energy transition and circular economy solutions. This programme offers financial support to companies for studies and investment that will limit the environmental impact and consumption of resources (water, energy and materials).