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16/12/2022 News

Béarn: an active energy transition

  • When gas was discovered in Lacq in 1951, it reinforced France’s energy independence, and the Béarn region has carried on the tradition of producing energy locally.
  • The Béarn region hosts many different TotalEnergies activities that contribute to the development of sustainable energies.
  • TotalEnergies was a partner at the conferences on energy sovereignty and renewable energies in Béarn, proposed by the local press (Groupe Sud-Ouest).

On Monday, December 12, 2022, our multi-energy Company was represented by Jean-Paul Riquet, Nouvelle Aquitaine Regional Director, to put forward well-founded arguments from our territory, to negotiate the energy transition. TotalEnergies’ history is closely linked to the energy resources discovered in the nineteen fifties in Lacq, and that was the starting point for the discussions. Gas, and the development of the industrial complex required to produce it, transformed activity throughout the region. Today, the Lacq Basin is at the cutting edge of current energy challenges. A momentum qualified as "extraordinary" by Patrice Laurent, President of the CCLO, who was also invited to speak.

TotalEnergies’ contribution in the Béarn region

TotalEnergies' spokesperson, who praised the collective work done with politicians, the economic world and civil society to transform the Béarn region, naturally mentioned the  Pau Site. Directed by Thierry Renard, it comprises two research centers, internationally acclaimed for their expertise: the CSTJF and the PERL. The teams on both sites proactively contribute to the energy transition. They were already ahead of the times in 2010, as pioneers in Europe on carbon capture and storage technologies.

Four years ago, there was not a single anaerobic digester in the Béarn region, whereas in the context of the energy transition, the renewable gas produced by fermenting organic plant or animal matter (agricultural waste, etc.), is a wonderful alternative to fossil natural gas. The major local energy producers include the BioBéarn anaerobic digester spearheaded by TotalEnergies in Mourenx. "It currently produces 69 GWh/yr, i.e. the consumption of 14,000 inhabitants, and avoids 13,000 tons of CO2, with the additional possibility of doubling its capacity," recalled Jean-Paul Riquet. Brought on line recently, it federates farmers belonging to Euralis to supply the input matter and use the digestate, an organic fertilizer as an alternative to chemical ones.

The production of electricity using solar panels is also going strong, with six TotalEnergies land solar power stations to give a second life to industrial wastelands. They represent the consumption of 75,000 inhabitants, i.e. 68,000 MWh of green electricity produced per year. Just by the by, the canopies on the parking lots at the CSTJF and the SOBEGI site were mentioned, as was the project to cover the grandstands at the Hameau stadium in Pau, which is emblematic for the Company! Remember the protocol signed at the end of 2021 by TotalEnergies and the Gaves Adour Economic Interest Group, which includes the University of Pau and the Adour Region, and the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Chamber of Agriculture, for the development of three floatovoltaic power plants installed on artificial lakes in the Béarn region.

  • A look back on TotalEnergies’ buyout of Fonroche: HERE 
  • The latest news on floating photovoltaics: HERE 

TotalEnergies is also the largest producer of HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) in France, and supplies buses in the Pau conurbation with biofuel. HVO100 fuel is a fully renewable-sourced fuel, qualified as sustainable, in compliance with the European Union renewable energies directive. Made using sustainable plant oils, or from reprocessed waste (animal fats, cooking oils, residual oils, etc.), the biofuel is readily usable in a thermal combustion engine, and therefore requires no adaptations. 

  • Find out more about HVO: HERE