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The Villepinte district heating network in the Paris region converts to geothermal

The November 27 commissioning of the Villepinte geothermal network on the eve of the Paris climate conference underlines the determination of ENGIE and its local subsidiary company GéoPicta as city partners to continue their commitment to promoting the energy transition at regional level.

The Villepinte network in the Paris region will enable the equivalent of 5,200 homes to enjoy the benefits of low environmental impact heating generated 60% from geothermal energy.

On Friday November 27, Martine Valleton, the Mayor of Villepinte, Jérôme Tolot, Executive Vice-President of the ENGIE Group, and Aurélie Lehericy, CEO of ENGIE Réseaux subsidiary GéoPicta, officially commissioned the Villepinte heating network, which has been completely upgraded and converted 60% to geothermal.

Originally installed in 1976, this network began the process of transformation four years ago by generating its heat from natural gas rather than its original energy source of coal. In 2014, Villepinte renewed its network outsourcing contract with ENGIE Réseaux, which gave its commitment to a further energy conversion and a substantial upgrading project that would combine energy efficiency with the delivery of heat generated from a renewable energy source:

  • demolition of the old coal-fired heating plant and replacement of the oil-fired boilers with new gas-fired boilers
  • drilling of a geothermal loop at a depth of 1,900 meters as the basis for construction of a geothermal heating plant
  • replacement of existing pipelines and upgrading of delivery points to make them suitable for the new energy source

Renewables-based heat supplied at controlled cost

With a total power rating of 40 MW, including 11 MW geothermal, the Villepinte heating network provides space heating and domestic hot water via 52 delivery points along a 4.3-mile network. It will enable 5,200 home equivalents to receive the benefits of reliable low environmental impact heating. The new network will avoid the atmospheric emission of 17,000 metric tons of CO2 annually (equivalent to the annual emissions of 6,600 vehicles).

As well as being a consistent and renewable source of energy, geothermal also delivers the benefit of stable prices, and because the new system relies mainly on renewables, users will benefit from the reduced VAT rate of 5.5%.

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