France: €1 billion (US$1.18bn) Horizeo project to produce green hydrogen and a data center

Aug 31, 2021 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Horizeo, a 1GW solar project from Engie and Neoen, is open for public debate in France. Proposed for Saucats in Gironde, in the Nouvell-Aquitaine region, the project is estimated at €1 billion (US$1.18bn), spanning 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres).

Commencing 9 September and running until 9 January 2022, the debate will assess the pros and cons of the project over six major public meetings. Currently, proposals outline the project will include an energy storage system, a 10MW electrolyzer for green hydrogen, and a data center, of which 20% of funds will be allocated to and fuelled in part by the solar project and managed by Engie. The solar farm is estimated to have a lifespan of 35 years.

Gwenaëlle Avice-Huet, the deputy CEO of Engie responsible for renewables, said: "The Horizeo project is unprecedented and innovative in terms of its renewable energy production capacity and it goes much further by associating, on a single site, technologies of the future." 

"It is also an ambitious project in its economic model, in which the energy produced will be valued through contracts for the sale of electricity by mutual agreement with companies, outside the tender procedures of the State and associated grants."

Avice-Huet outlined that this project is also innovative regarding France's current economic model of renewable energies. She added:" We are also committed to carrying out an exemplary project in terms of environmental and societal approach. The upcoming public debate will allow us, in particular, to enrich and feed all the components of the project."

According to environmentalist groups, the project will also require the clearing of a 1,000-hectare wooded plot currently reserved for forestry.

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