Inauguration of the biomass boiler unit of Saint-Denis, the 2nd largest district heating network of Île-de-France

By ENGIE - 04 July 2017 - 09:25

Inauguration of the biomass boiler unit of Saint-Denis, the 2nd largest district heating network of Île-de-France

By now contributing over 50% of renewable energies to the energy mix of the district heating network of the city and towns of Saint-Denis, Stains, Pierrefitte and L’Ile-Saint-Denis, this boiler unit, converted to biomass, illustrates the dynamism of the local area and its action in favour of the energy transition.

Isabelle Kocher (CEO of ENGIE Group), Farida Adlani (Vice-President of the Île-de-France Region), Patrick Braouezec (President of Plaine Commune Energie), Didier Paillard (Vice-Chairman of the Plaine Commune Urban Community and President of the SMIREC), Laurent Russier (Mayor of Saint-Denis), Joëlle Colosio (ADEME Île-de-France Regional Director) inaugurated the new biomass boiler unit of Saint-Denis.


A saving of over 56,000 tonnes of CO2 each year in the local area


On-stream since October 2016, the biomass boiler unit of Saint-Denis, with a power of 26.5 megawatts (MW), combines preservation of the environment with the fight against fuel poverty. Greening the district heating of Plaine Commune has been carried out in stages, since the creation of the network in the 1950s and it now operates with over 50% renewable energies. The use of biomass means that 56,000 fewer tonnes of CO2 per year are discharged into the atmosphere, the equivalent of the annual emissions of 25,000 vehicles.


The district heating network of Saint-Denis, called Plaine Commune Energie, covers a wide perimeter since it supplies the equivalent of 40,000 housing units located in four municipalities. With almost 60 km of buried pipes and 400 delivery points, the Plaine Commune network is the second largest district heating network of the Ile-de-France and the third largest network in France.


4 towns involved in the energy transition


The city of Saint-Denis and towns of Stains, Pierrefitte and L’Ile-Saint-Denis are interconnected by the district heating network managed by Plaine Commune Energie under a 25-year delegation of public service contract. This contract is delegated to the Syndicat Mixte des Réseaux d’Energie Calorifique (SMIREC). ENGIE Réseaux, the SMIREC and the four municipalities share the same ambition of environmental excellence and sustainable local development. “We are committed to taking an active part in accelerating the energy transition of our local area,” Laurent Russier, Mayor of Saint-Denis stated. The majority use of green energy will benefit users since the VAT they pay on their heating bills will be reduced to 5.5%. Saint-Denis, Stains, Pierrefitte and L’Ile-Saint-Denis are part of the nine towns of Plaine Commune, the largest public local authority in Ile-de-France. Aware of its responsibility as a local authority, Plaine Commune has been engaged since the 2000s in a policy of combating climate change.


In the framework of the energy transition, the boiler project was financed by ADEME (The French environment and energy management agency) (€ 4.4 million) and Paris Region (€ 2 million), out of the € 40 million invested.


In a context where their economic equilibrium has become more fragile, support for district heating networks requires significant collective involvement by local authorities, developers, financiers, operators… Didier Paillard, President of the SMIREC, the manager of the urban heating public services, emphasises the importance of district heating networks over the long term: “The elected representatives of the SMIREC have, for several decades, pursued exemplary policies in support of district heating networks, drivers of renewable energy development on a large scale. One must stand firm and not to give in to the temptation of short-termism in relation to energy, but on the contrary look ahead to the future by taking into account the strengths of urban heating in terms of price stability and environmental benefits.


ENGIE, a local partner of dynamic and sustainable towns and regions


To better meet local authorities’ requirements, the ENGIE Group offers them district heating networks which use renewable energies. Operating a total of 17 biomass boiler units in France, its subsidiary ENGIE Réseaux has substantial expertise in assisting its customers with implementing the energy transition. ENGIE offers solutions that are innovative, powerful and adapted to renewable energies which address both the economic challenges and ecological issues. Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE, recalls the desire of the Group to develop ‘low-carbon’ solutions and stated: “ENGIE is proud to contribute to the local energy transition supported by the municipalities and by Plaine Commune. The greening of a district heating network is a significant step forward in this area. I welcome the work done to move from words to actions: some people simply talk of the energy transition, but we are making it happen with our partners and for our customers.


ENGIE develops its businesses (power, natural gas, energy services) around a model based on responsible growth to take on the major challenges of energy’s transition to a low-carbon economy: access to sustainable energy, climate-change mitigation and adaptation and the rational use of resources. The Group provides individuals, cities and businesses with highly efficient and innovative solutions largely based on its expertise in four key sectors: renewable energy, energy efficiency, liquefied natural gas and digital technology. ENGIE employs 153,090 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €66.6 billion in 2016. The Group is listed on the Paris and Brussels stock exchanges (ENGI) and is represented in the main international indices: CAC 40, CAC 40 Governance, BEL 20, DJ Euro Stoxx 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe, DJSI World, DJSI Europe and Euronext Vigeo (World 120, Eurozone 120, Europe 120 and France 20).


About Plaine Commune Energie

Plaine Commune Energie is the company assigned to operating the public service for supplying heat to the City of Saint Denis, Stains, Pierrefitte and L’Ile-Saint-Denis, a 100% subsidiary of ENGIE Réseaux, ENGIE Group.


About Saint Denis

Aware of the need for an ecological and social transition, the City of Saint Denis is involved in many areas of the everyday life of its local citizens (poverty, health, housing, air pollution, waste management, mobility, etc.). To make its contribution to international commitments regarding the fight against global warming, Saint-Denis adopted its first Climate Energy Plan in 2015.


Its commitments include control of the energy consumption of municipal buildings, a reduction of the carbon impact on its travel, a contribution to the development of renewable energies and awareness-raising about the climate and energy issues and air quality. With the implementation of this project, the City confirms the desire of the local authority to change to distributing heat produced from renewable energies for all municipal users (social housing, schools, etc.).


About the SMIREC

The SMIREC (Syndicat Mixte des Energies Calorifiques or joint association of heat energy)  is responsible, as delegator, for the public service of production and distribution of heat and cold in the local area alongside the housing entities, Offices Publics d’Habitation and Plaine Commune Habitat.


About the ADEME

The ADEME contributes to the implementation of public policies in the areas of the environment, energy and sustainable development. In order to enable them to move forward with their environmental policies, the Agency provides its expertise and advice to companies, local authorities, public authorities and the general public. In addition, it helps finance projects, from the research to implementation stages in the areas of its work: energy and climate, waste, polluted soils and wasteland, air and noise, general cross-functional activities (production and sustainable consumption, cities and sustainable areas).


About the Ile-de-France Region

The Ile-de-France Region plays a central role in delivering the energy transition and must increase renewable and local energy production. Since 2016, it has innovated by creating new measures: support for large-scale renewable energy infrastructure (methanisation units, geothermal power stations and biomass or solar boiler units), development of a regional plan for energy efficiency.