In order to reduce its emissions and dependence on gas, the city of Épernay has opted for a new operator of its district heating network. Since 1975, a gas-fired boiler room has been located on the heights of the city, supplying heating and hot water to around 1,100 apartments and several public buildings in the area (community centre, high school, media library, etc.). Soon, it will run on biomass.
At the last meeting of the city council, the elected representatives of the capital of champagne chose the new private service provider who will be responsible for transforming this aging equipment. Idex Territoires, a Hauts-de-Seine company that manages 60 heating networks in France, will integrate, in Épernay, two generators of 7 and 4 MW that will no longer burn gas, but wood. "It will come from a radius of less than 100 km and for the rest, it will be green gas," said Jonathan Rodrigues, deputy mayor in charge of ecological transition.
"9,000 to 10,000 tonnes of CO2 saved per year"
It is also planned that 10% of the wood burned will come from the Champagne vineyards. According to the elected official, the switch to biomass will have a double benefit. Financial, first of all. "With the energy crisis, we have experienced astronomical prices that have risen to 200 euros per MWh. Now, we will be around 86 euros and the cost will not fluctuate." At the same time, Idex plans to quadruple the size of the network, currently 3 km, and install 47 additional substations to supply buildings, the swimming pool and the city's hospital. The gain will also be ecological. "We will be able to improve our carbon footprint with the prospect of 9,000 to 10,000 tonnes of CO2 saved per year," says Jonathan Rodrigues.
The contract provides for the start of construction work on the new boiler room in October 2024 and the supply of biomass heat from 1 November 2025. A project that has been delayed due to the action of Dalkia, Adex's competitor on this file, which succeeded in having the administrative court of Châlons annul the initial choice of the elected representatives of Sparnac, due to a problem of form. A year later, Épernay again chose Idex for the next 24 years.