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Saint-Quentin-Fallavier/Luxembourg, 24 April 2014

EIB signs EUR 200m loan contract with RTE to improve reliability of electricity supply in Rhône Valley

On Thursday 24 April 2014, RTE and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier on the "Rhône Valley" site a new EUR 200m finance contract. This contract, signed by RTE's Executive Vice-President of Finance, Procurement, Information Systems and Telecommunications Philippe Dupuis and Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Philippe de Fontaine Vive, will finance a part of the "Rhône Valley" project aimed at optimising and ensuring the reliability of the two 400 kV power connections between Lyon and Montélimar. This operation is the second part of an overall package of EUR 500m approved by the EIB in March 2013 for the implementation of seven major projects concerning several French regions*.

The "Rhône Valley" project, representing an investment of EUR 287m, will contribute to improving the reliability of 275 km of existing lines and to increasing their capacity by reinforcing the pylons and replacing the current cables with cables which are of the same diameter but capable of transmitting more electricity. These measures to be carried out in a strategic power corridor will therefore help to increase the security of France's power supply.

At the signing of the contract, EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive stated, "I am very pleased that the EIB is contributing to the financing of a major project for the security of the European electricity system, an interconnected network in which congestion problems are becoming increasingly frequent and must be rapidly addressed. This firm commitment to a reliable, competitive and sustainable energy supply reflects one of the Bank's top priorities, tailored to the needs of French and European citizens."

"It is vital to develop and strengthen the network in order to maintain the balance between electricity supply and demand in France over the medium and long term. RTE is therefore pursuing a policy of continuous investment, deploying over EUR 1.4bn a year," explained RTE's Executive Vice-President of Finance, Procurement, Information Systems and Telecommunications Philippe Dupuis. "The stability of our economic model and our financial performance, together with the particularly attractive conditions available from the EIB, enable RTE to finance these large-scale schemes that are crucial for the security of France's power supply. These investments will also help to control electricity transmission costs."

The loan signed with RTE reflects the EIB's climate action in France, in Europe and throughout the world. In keeping with EU objectives, the Bank is making an effort to optimise the quality and security of the energy supply, while integrating new facilities for producing electricity, in particular from renewable energy sources.

RTE's investment programme, to which the Bank is making a considerable financial contribution, will also generate local employment. RTE and the EIB are thus continuing their

cooperation which began in 2009.
With a view to implementing the seven large transmission projects concerned, the EUR 500m EIB loan will cover almost one half of the corresponding investment costs (EUR 1bn over the period 2012-2016).

The financing of these projects will contribute to ensuring the security and quality of the power supply and will also support the development of new means of energy production, particularly from renewables. This requires the installation of around 400 km of 400 kV, 225 kV and 90 kV lines and the upgrading of 350 km of existing 400 kV lines.

*The seven major projects are Cotentin–Maine, "Rhône Valley", PACA Safety Net, Charleville-Reims, Security Enhancement in the south of Pays de la Loire, "Deux Loires" and the capacitor programme.

Note to editors

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term financing institution of the European Union (EU). It’s shareholders are the Member States of the Union. The EIB's remit is to contribute to the achievement of the EU’s objectives by providing long-term finance for viable projects.

Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) is a service company. Its core remit is to give all its customers access to an inexpensive, secure and clean power supply. It connects its customers via tailored infrastructure and provides them with all the tools and services enabling them to satisfy their requirements in the interests of economic efficiency, environmental responsibility and security of energy supply. Accordingly, it operates, maintains and develops the high and very high voltage network and guarantees the smooth functioning and safety of the power supply. RTE channels electricity between suppliers (French and European) and consumers, both power distributors and industries directly connected to the transmission grid.

With 100 000 km lines of between 63 kV and 400 kV and 46 cross-border lines, RTE manages Europe’s largest grid. It generated a turnover of EUR 4 702m in 2013 and has a workforce of 8 500.

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