French utility Engie has inaugurated the country’s first marine geothermal power station Thassalia in Marseille.

Built at the Marseille-Fos Port, the power station will use the sea's thermal energy to produce space heating, water heating and air conditioning services for buildings spread over an area of around 500,000m2 in the city of Marseille.

The facility is expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70%.

Engie CEO Isabelle Kocher said:  “The Thassalia inauguration is an opportunity for me to appreciate the involvement of this beautiful region in energy transition, especially in terms of renewable energy development and continued commitment to improve building energy efficiency.

“The marine geothermal power station serves as a new innovative display of this approach. Thanks to its strong local presence and a wide range of expertise, Engie – a leader in energy transition – accompanies such projects taking into account the various territorial challenges.”

The project has seen an investment of €35m ($38.5m) for an overall heating/cooling capacity of 19MW, SeeNews Renewables reported.

Apart from Engie, it received a funding of €3.4m from France’s Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) and €1.6m from the European fund for economic and regional development (FEDER).

The project also attracted an investment of €2m from regional and city funds.

Engie said that all the technical aspects of the power plant were handled by its teams Ineo, Cofely, and Axima.

It said: “The project is a real example of innovation that allows for energy transition and efficiency, therefore consistent with plans to make the Euroméditerranée quarter an example of a sustainable city.”

Image: Gérard Mestrallet, chairman of ENGIE's board of directors, inaugurated the new marine geothermal power station Thassalia. Photo courtesy of Antoine MEYSSONNIER /Engie.