Reseau de Transport d’Electricite, France’s power grid owned by Electricite de France SA, will get 500 million euros ($648 million) in loans from the European Investment Bank to develop electricity infrastructure.
The bank has agreed to help finance seven high voltage and very high voltage power grid projects between 2012 and 2016, according to a statement from RTE, which is based outside Paris.
RTE signed for the first 300 million-euro tranche today and the rest of the lending agreement will be completed in 2014, it said.
RTE has said it plans to spend almost 8 billion euros from 2012 to 2016 and almost double that by the end of the decade to add and refurbish electricity transmission lines as the country plans to lower its reliance on nuclear energy and increase renewable energy production.
Today’s financing deal will help pay for the completion of the Cotentin-Maine high-voltage line, which links EDF’s EPR reactor being built in Flamanville in Normandy to the grid, according to the statement. It will also help pay for links in eastern and southern France.
EDF’s 58 reactors provide more than three-quarters of France’s electricity. French President Francois Hollande has pledged to lower this reliance on atomic energy to about 50 percent by 2025. The policy change was triggered by the 2011 nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan.
Brittany in western France and Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the south lack power-generation capacity and face risks of shortages in the event of a plant or network failure, the grid has said. Brittany produces 10 percent of its power needs.
Strengthening a link between Lyon and Montelimar is “considered a major project for the security of Europe’s power grid,” RTE said today.