SNCF Energie, a subsidiary of SNCF Voyageurs, and Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR) have signed the largest Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for wind power in France. The agreement comes shortly after the launch of “SNCF Renouvelables”, its solar energy production subsidiary.
The two parties signed the power purchase contract on July 10 for a period of 25 years. During this time, CNR, through its subsidiary Vensolair, will build two wind farms by 2024 and supply SNCF Energie with 88 GWh of renewable electricity per year.
The wind farms will be located in the Haute-Vienne and Eure-et-Loir. They will include 12 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 36 MW and are expected to generate around 88 GWh of electricity a year. This is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of the RER D train line in the Paris region. Construction of the wind farms is due to begin this autumn.
It is the first wind PPA signed by SNCF Energie and the largest wind PPA contract in France. CNR is France’s leading producer of fully renewable electricity. This long-term contract will help SNCF Voyageurs reduce its dependence on volatile electricity market prices. Ultimately, this should also enable SNCF Voyageurs to avoid emitting 4,000 tons of CO2 every year.
Transition to renewable energy
SNCF is the largest consumer of electricity in France. Its energy needs divide into four main categories: rail traction (more than half of consumption), road (around 25% of consumption) and the needs of buildings in the services, social, industrial and rail sectors, including stations, as well as service vehicles. Today, the SNCF transports 11% of passengers and goods in France and accounts for less than 1% of the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.
With the launch of SNCF Renouvelables, dedicated to developing and installing renewable energy capacity on its land reserves, SNCF Voyageurs also aims to reach 40%-50% renewable energy, including 20% from PPA, in its electricity consumption mix for train traction by 2026.
SNCF Voyageurs’ goal is to have 1,100 GWh of renewable electricity from PPA by 2027-2028. SNCF Energie has been piloting SNCF Voyageurs’ “corporate PPA” program since 2018. With these new deals, by 2027, more than 560 GWh per year will come from additional PV and wind power plants.