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Renewable energy to power Paris tunnelling project

by Mark Cantrell
The electricity used to power construction of a section of the Paris Metro is to come exclusively from renewable sources, claims Ferrovial.

The electricity used to power construction of a section of the Paris Metro is to come exclusively from renewable sources, claims Ferrovial.

The company’s construction division – alongside its French partner, Spie batignolles – have struck an agreement with Électricité de France (EDF) to ensure construction work is supplied with renewable-sourced power for the section of line 18 connecting Orly Airport to Versailles Chantiers

Both companies are in charge of the construction of this section, which connects Orly airport to the city of Versailles. The investment in electricity from renewable sources planned during this civil engineering work on this section, as part of the Grand Paris Express project, will reach approximately €4 million.

The agreement provides for the supply of 25 gigawatt hours (GWh), equivalent to the power used by a city of 85,000 people, such as Versailles, in three months. Of the total, 13.5 GWh will be used to drive the tunnel boring machine, and the rest to operate the ancillary equipment required for construction.

EDF has provided the consortium with a guarantee that the electricity will come from renewable sources. The deal will avoid the emission of 7,396 tons of CO2.

To contribute to reducing the carbon footprint, the consortium will use a variable density tunnel boring machine already in place that was used to dig the previous section.

Ignacio Gastón, chief executive of Ferrovial Construction, said: “Ferrovial’s construction division has made a firm commitment that, by 2025, all projects where we have decision-making capacity will use 100% renewable energy. We are also working to replicate this commitment to sustainability in projects with partners, in order to involve the entire value chain.”

The technology used in the tunnel boring machine will make it possible to re-use the excavated material (mainly sand) in other phases of the project, in line with Ferrovial’s circular economy plan.

Work on the section of line 18 was awarded to Ferrovial in consortium with Spie in April 2022. The 428-million-euro contract, comprises digging a 6.7-kilometre tunnel between the Guyancourt and Versailles – Chantiers stations, in western Paris, as well as building three stations and eight ancillary structures.

It is part of the Grand Paris Express project, Europe’s largest infrastructure project, which involves adding 68 new stations and 200 kilometres of line to the Paris subway system. The infrastructure is scheduled to become operational in 2030.


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