Image: Engie

Project HORIZEO plans a low carbon based industrial development in the Gironde region in southwestern France.

The development in the municipality of Saucats to the south of Bordeaux is planned to comprise a 1GW solar PV park along with battery energy storage, a green hydrogen electrolyser, a data centre and a supply connection to agriculture.

The electricity generated by the solar PV will be used to power the electrolyser and data centre, with the remainder going to agriculture – the region is, of course, famed for its wines – and contracted out directly to companies.

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Engie and Neoen intend with the project to demonstrate that solar PV generated electricity is now “mature, reliable and competitive enough” for direct supply to industry, according to a statement.

The project also supports the New Aquitaine region’s goal to reach 8.5GW of solar PV generation capacity by 2030 compared to 2GW today – the project alone, one of a few of its scale in the world, representing more than 15% of this regional ambition.

“The HORIZEO project is new and innovative in its capacity to produce renewable energy and goes far beyond this by combining future technologies on the same site,” comments Gwenaelle Avice-Huet, Engie deputy managing director in charge of Renewables.

“It is also an ambitious project in its economic model, whose energy produced will be valued outside the tendering procedures of the state and associated subsidies. This is a real break with the current economic model of renewable energy in France.”

Environmental impacts

Environmental considerations are another key component, with the approximately 1,000ha project site in a forested area. Special permission will be required for clearance and replacement tree planting will be required elsewhere.

“HORIZEO is a major project that aims to demonstrate that it is possible to accelerate the energy transition in France. Our priority is to integrate it into the realities of the territory from an ecological, societal and economic point of view,” says Paul-François Croisille, deputy managing director of Neoen.

Community input is considered an important component and will be sought on the development of the project.