French Heat Fund to double by 2017

420 million euros – this is the amount of money forecasted to be loaned out through heat funds by 2017 in France. This equates to double the amount currently loaned. The Heat Fund, which was created to support projects designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and improve energy independence in France, has supported more than 3200 installations powered by heating networks or renewable sources over the past five years. What has provoked this extraordinary growth?


What is the Heat Fund?


Managed since 2009 by the ADEME (French Agency for Environment and Energy Management), the Heat Fund aims to contribute to the development of renewable heat production. It concerns both collective housing, communities and businesses.


The Heat Fund is an essential tool in the aim of achieving the target of 23% renewable energy by 2020 – a goal set by the European climate and energy group. Before this rapidly approaching deadline, the Heat Fund must enable an additional 5.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent (or toe) of renewable heat or recovery to be produced.


Encouraging Results


The necessity for the Heat Fund in the financing of French heating networks was confirmed in the debate on energy transition. Subsequently, between 2009 and 2013, the Heat Fund has dispensed € 1.12 billion to various projects which have helped support the creation of nearly 3000 installations and produced 1.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent.


The initials results generated by the Heat Fund balance are therefore very encouraging and these results explain why the French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDDE), Segolene Royal, announced in April that the money made available through the fund was to be doubled. The goal of this increase in funding is to ensure that the 5.5 million TOE objective is reached within the next five years.


New fields of interest


To achieve this objective, the Heat Fund has opened up to new projects, particularly in the following areas:


– Recovery heat (heat recovery equipment to augment heat networks);


– Methane (facilities with a biogas injection in the gas network will now qualify for funding);


– Cooling production (absorption groups, cooling networks etc.) as part of pilot operations;


– Biomass (wood supply, preparation and storage, supporting forest owners and the entire industry);


– Small projects exceeding 25 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) which must be partly funded by local residents;


– Management partnerships (giving rise to partnership-development contracts for renewable energy in order to support small groups of projects, for example by a federal authority or a real estate manager);


– Simplifying aid packages for medium-sized installations by creating packages dependent on the renewable energy produced.


A new provision also accompanied the increase in money available through the Heat Fun with the launch of an annual invite to tender for specific projects in the biomass and solar sectors. For 2015, the invite to tender was for large thermal solar plants projects and was completed in June 2015. This autumn will see another appeal launched for large biomass installations.

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