Opened in 1968, the Villejean incineration plant in Rennes will be modernized.


J. Gicquel / 20 Minutes

  • The oldest incinerator in France, the Villejean plant in Rennes will stop its furnaces in a year to be modernized.

  • During the work, which will last a year and a half, the waste will take the direction of Bourgabarré before being transferred to incinerators in neighboring departments.

  • Once rehabilitated, the Villejean incinerator will be able to provide heating to around 35,000 inhabitants.

The plume of white smoke it gives off is visible from afar.

Established since 1968 in the Villejean district of Rennes, the energy recovery plant (UVE) swallows 144,000 tonnes of waste every year before burning it.

The heat produced during incineration currently provides heating to around 20,000 residents of the district as well as electricity, used for the needs of the plant or sold to EDF.

But the oldest incinerator in France has had its day and will have to be completely renovated to "become more efficient", according to Laurent Hamon, vice-president of the metropolis in charge of waste and the circular economy.

Voted in 2018 for an amount of 115 million euros, modernization work will begin in April 2022. On that date, the incinerator will shut down its furnaces for a period of one and a half years.

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Throughout this period, all bulky items and 35% of non-recyclable household waste collected will head to Bourgarré, a town located south of Rennes where a transfer center will be set up within a year.

From there, the Rennes waste will then be transferred to incinerators in neighboring departments.

Other household waste usually burned in Villejean will be treated by the Veolia group, whose contract for the operation of the energy recovery plant was renewed for a period of ten years on Thursday evening at the board of Rennes Métropole.

Once patched up, the incinerator should ramp up and "produce 40% more heat and 120% more electricity," according to Laurent Hamon.

It will then allow driver the equivalent of 35,000 inhabitants.

A temporary storage location for Rennes waste, the Bourgbarré site will also specialize in the “innovative” management of construction waste, particularly plaster.

"We are going to think about how to develop and reuse it in a logic of circular economy", specifies the elected official.


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