Paris selects Engie and RATP to manage cooling network

district cooling
Image credit: 123rf.com

Fraîche de Paris, a joint venture of ENGIE and French state-owned public transport firm RATP, has been selected by the city of Paris to operate its district cooling network over a period of 20 years.

Fraîche de Paris will manage ‘Europe’s largest district cooling network’ by operating cooling energy production, storage, transportation and distribution infrastructure.

The two firms will be responsible for tripling the size of the network over the coming years by adding 20 new production plants, 10 storage facilities, 158km of distribution lines and consumers.

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The contract is expected to have a turnover of €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) over the 20 year period and will avoid 300,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases.

The contract stipulates that ENGIE and RATP:

  • Enable the network to run on 100% renewable electricity produced in France, of which nearly 70% will be supplied from 4 new dedicated solar farms;
  • Consumer energy usage is reduced by more than 20% (compared with a traditional air-conditioning solution);
  • Improve the efficiency of production tools by more than 15% through innovative processes that consume less and the use of artificial intelligence;
  • Use materials, technologies and coolants that are more environmentally friendly;
  • Green an urban area of 5,000 m2 (production plants and streets during major construction work);
  • Save 130,000 m³ of water each year through collection of seepage water that will be used in the cooling process.

CLIMESPACE, a subsidiary of ENGIE has been operating the network since 1991. Since 2013, the system has been running on 100% renewable energy and achieved carbon-neutrality in 2018.

Fraîcheur de Paris will support the equivalent of 850 jobs in Paris and 2,200 in the Île-de-France region (direct, indirect and induced jobs) each year.

Expanding the cooling network to include hospitals, nurseries, schools and homes is expected to improve consumer sustainability and reduce the vulnerability to climate change for consumers living in energy poverty, according to the statement.

The project will enable consumers to switch from less climate-friendly cooling mechanisms to a sustainable model, a development that is expected to help Paris achieve its 2050 carbon-neutrality goal.

ENGIE, which owns an 85% stake in Fraîcheur de Paris, will provide its experience gained in 30 years of operating the Paris system, whilst RATP (with a 15% stake in Fraîcheur de Paris) its expertise in managing underground networks.

ENGIE’s CEO Catherine MacGregor, said the firm will use the contract to accelerate the ecological transition in Paris through increased deployment and use of decentralised low-carbon infrastructure.

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