Green gas, between the will to accelerate and restraint

35 sites in New Aquitaine, one in Charente

As a reminder, there are nine farmers in this sector who started the process 7 years ago. After endless administrative procedures, the project saw the light of day 18 months ago. A project at 5.2 million. “ It works well, we are happy with the process. We learned to change jobs and we have a good employee says Evelyne Lohues. A precise timetable plans the fertilizer inputs of the nine farmers. In summer, 50 tons are processed daily. 70 in the winter. Slurry, Slurry and Cipan (intercrop nitrate trap). The solid sludge separated from the gas represents a digestate that is used as fertilizer in crops.

This is part of the energy sovereignty strategy

Photovoltaic, methanation, Mayor Jean-Noël Dupré is pleased, towards “ energy autonomy. At regional level, the target is to achieve 10% green gas in the networks by 2025. 30% in 2030 and 100% in 2050.” A real strategic issue for France “, supports Renaud Francomme, Regional Territorial Director of GRDF in Poitou-Charentes. In particular, to get rid of Russian gas, which accounts for 17% of imports. Even if the prices for green gas are still slightly higher than those for natural gas for the time being. With the recent crisis in Ukraine, the gap tends to narrow. According to Renaud Francomme, the development of green gas can “to better control costs” and to avoidthe yo-yo effect“.

This is part of the sovereignty strategy for energy independence “, he adds. And on this issue, New Aquitaine has the edge. 3% green gas consumption in our region compared to 1% in France. “ We have 35 biogas locations he says. With which gas is fed into the networks. But so far only one factory in Charente, in Confolens.

Because the reluctance is always great (see box). “ We have real educational work to do. », supports Renaud Francomme. According to a study, 80% of the population prefer green gas. But only half understand what it is. Odor nuisance, noise, transport, scarecrows are numerous in this type of file. In 2019, the project led by Engie to build an anaerobic digestion plant in Fléac and Saint-Yrieix in the Eurasian zone was abandoned. The idea had led to numerous protests from local residents and a collective had emerged. At the end of 2018 he won his trial. These projects also provoke the ire of environmentalists. In a documentary broadcast this week on France 5, journalist Hugo Clément explains: “Some farmers also only grow crops to feed methanizers: we therefore use part of our agricultural land to produce energy and not to feed people.”

You cannot generate activity without generating nuisance

The key ? “Dialog ‘ says Evelyne Lohues. And communication. “If there is a problem, we go to the people or they come to us. » In Confolens, it is above all the coming and going of tractors that frightens people. Not the smells. “ You cannot generate activity without generating nuisance “Evelyne Lohue’s slip. Even a farmer a stone’s throw from the factory has given up participation in the project, scalded by possible criticism. “ And administratively it is very, very difficult “, Evelyne Lohues does not hide. Because of this, GRDF wants a “ moderator in designing these projects. “ By promoting the connection of actors and by positioning the site close to distribution networks to reduce costs ‘, enumerates Renaud Francomme. GRDF also bears a good part of the cost of connection to the distribution network. But for the time being, no new project should see the light of day in the Charente. medium term he says.

In Saint-Séverin it winces

Example of reticence in this type of biogas plant project: the Saint-Séverin case. Since 2018, the agricultural cooperative of Ribérac (24), the Scar, has wanted to set up a site there that can process 60 tons a day, which, according to the project managers, come from plant waste. These vegetable inputs based on catch crops for energy purposes are stored in airtight sausages to limit fermentation and thus odor formation. At the end of this process, the gas is fed into the grid. Around 50 farmers are involved in this program, spread over a thousand hectares to provide the raw material, ie around 22,000 tons per year. At the end of January, the Prefecture validated the project of Vgaz, Scar’s subsidiary. And yet the locals are fiercely opposed. Just like the chosen ones. “There are fears of noise and odor nuisance. We were against this choice because it is quite close to the city,” explains Patrick Gallès, Mayor of Saint-Séverin. “We could have found a better place.” During the consultation process, the anti-project eco-citizen collective distributed a letter to residents, which they only had to sign and add to the consultation file. 350 people took part. Saint-Séverin voted against the classified site and the propagation plan, but in January the prefecture still confirmed the project. Patrick Gallès states that no appeal has been lodged. The company Vgaz has started to carry out earthworks on the site.

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