BayWa selected for innovative PV, storage, and renewable hydrogen project

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The Community of Communes of Haute-Saintonge (CDCHS), a positive energy territory (TEPOS) historically committed to the development of renewable energies, launched a Call for Expressions of Interest (AMI) at the end of 2021 for the development of a photovoltaic park on the site of the Haute Saintonge Mechanical Cluster, in Charente-Maritime.

BayWa r.e., an international company specializing in renewable energies, was selected to implement an ambitious energy transition project in Haute-Saintonge.

Renewable hydrogen as a spearhead

BayWa r.e. has approached Lhyfe, a world pioneer and pure player in renewable green hydrogen, for this project supported by the Haute-Saintonge Community of Communes. In close collaboration with the Community of Communes, Lhyfe will conduct a study of the opportunities in the region with a view to building a hydrogen production facility.

BayWa r.e. and Lhyfe, roles well distributed

BayWa r.e. will be responsible for the development, construction and operation of a 40 MWp photovoltaic park, as well as the development of a battery electricity storage unit. Lhyfe will be in charge of the development, construction and operation of a renewable green hydrogen production unit powered by the electricity production of the photovoltaic park.

The renewable hydrogen produced in this way could be marketed locally by Lhyfe to industrial and mobility players within a 100 to 150 km radius. “Beyond the implementation of a new photovoltaic park, we wanted to see the emergence of an innovative project to strengthen the attractiveness of the Mechanical Engineering Cluster and contribute to job creation in the region. On the other hand, we wanted it to bring innovations, even experimental ones, in the field of electricity storage and hydrogen production. The proposal made by BayWa r.e. meets these two requirements,” explains Claude Belot, President of the Community of Communes of Haute-Saintonge.

A 50-hectare photovoltaic park with lithium storage

The project involves the installation of a 50-hectare photovoltaic facility within the Haute Saintonge Mechanical Park, for an annual production of nearly 52 GWh corresponding to the consumption of more than 26,000 people, i.e. nearly half of the domestic needs of the Community of Communes of Haute Saintonge.

The environmental studies will be started this year. Subject to obtaining the administrative authorizations, the construction of the photovoltaic park could be started in 2026. The photovoltaic power plant will be coupled with a lithium battery type energy storage system. The system will allow for optimized integration of the plant into the grid, by capturing excess solar production and making intelligent use of the electrical infrastructure. It will also help to secure the supply of electricity, especially during peak winter periods.

“BayWa r.e. wants the Haute-Saintonge project to be a showcase of innovation that demonstrates the merits of combining flexibility tools with renewable energy production, both locally and at the level of the electricity system. We will be demonstrating the technical feasibility of the project, as well as its economic relevance in terms of the services provided,” explains Mathieu Bordeleau, Head of Innovation at BayWa r.e. France.

Green hydrogen production for local use

In parallel with the development of the photovoltaic plant, Lhyfe will conduct an in-depth study of local hydrogen production outlets within a 100 to 150 km radius. This step will allow the sizing of a hydrogen production chain including electrolyzer, compressor and storage.

Potential beneficiaries include the vehicle fleets of local authorities, waste management companies, school and urban transport companies and local businesses, as well as local manufacturers (agribusiness, aeronautics, etc.). 2 A project initiated by and for the benefit of the communities In addition to benefiting the development of the Haute Saintonge territory, the innovative project carried out by BayWa r.e. and Lhyfe in response to the call for expressions of interest from the Community of Communes of Haute Saintonge will bring multiple financial benefits for the community through rents and taxes.

The possibility of a 100% inter-communal park BayWa r.e. proposes to the community to enter the capital of the project from the development phase, then to remain and become a majority shareholder if it wishes so in the construction and exploitation phase. Under these conditions, the remuneration linked to this shareholding would be added to the economic and fiscal benefits linked to the presence of the solar photovoltaic park on the territory of the communities.

“BayWa r.e. is very proud to have been selected by the Community of Communes of Haute Saintonge to lead, with Lhyfe, a resolutely innovative territory project combining photovoltaic, hydrogen and storage on the same site. This project will be a real model for territories wishing to be actors of the energy transition, with in particular an opening of the capital to the local authorities” says Céline Tran, General Manager of BayWa r.e France.

Nedim Husomanovic

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