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Voltalia’s Cacao biomass plant in French Guiana begins operations

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Voltalia’s Cacao biomass plant in French Guiana produced its first kilowatt-hours on 17 December.

The plant, which received a €75 million investment, utilises wood waste from logging operations sustainably managed by the National Forestry Office and sawmills. By recovering a fraction of the wood abandoned in the forest and replacing diesel-powered solutions, the plant will prevent 28,500 tons of CO2-equivalent emissions per year.

The Cacao plant, located in the commune of Roura, was designed and built by Voltalia, which is also providing maintenance services. With an installed capacity of 5.1 MW, it benefits from a contract with a guaranteed tariff for 25 years.

Once the current tests have been completed, the output injected into the public grid will be sold at a price below the cost of existing diesel-powered thermal power plants in the nation.

The plant will have batteries with a storage capacity of 550 kW/250 Kwh, enabling the plant’s output to be modulated quickly and helping to stabilise the non-interconnected network of French Guiana.

Sebastien Clerc, CEO of Voltalia, said: “Renewable energies, which already account for 50% of the energy mix of French Guiana, are a key solution to meet the growing demand for energy by local households. In this respect, biomass, which enables Voltalia to supply electricity continuously, is particularly well suited to the territory, where there is an abundance of residues from forestry activities managed sustainably by the ONF.

“I would like to thank the teams who have successfully completed this project despite all the constraints due to the sanitary crisis.”

Voltalia currently has six renewable energy facilities in French Guiana – three solar, two biomass, and one hydroelectric, as well as battery storage units with a total installed capacity of 30 MW.