Energy renovation of schools: Emmanuel Macron’s plan leaves local elected officials waiting

Posted Sep 5, 2023, 7:20 PM

The “major ecological restoration project for schools” promised in the spring by Emmanuel Macron is becoming clearer. “We are going to launch a series of initiatives on the renovation of school buildings […] Our objective is within 10 years to be able to renovate 40,000-44,000 schools in this way, and therefore to support municipalities, departments, regions, depending on the level, in this work”, which will also be based on a “project educational “, announced Tuesday the Head of State during a visit to a college in Orthez (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).

This ambition will be based in particular on the “Green Fund” of 2 billion euros set up to help local authorities in their ecological transition. With “from 2024, 500 million euros which will be earmarked solely for the renovation of schools”, indicates the Elysée. Through the Green Fund, “more than 600 projects have been launched, ie financing of 140 million euros in aid committed by the State out of a total of more than 500 million euros of work”.

” A good start “

“It’s a mive plan that marks a real consideration of the issue. These 500 million euros are a good start, but the envelopes must be renewed each year and can be topped up given the scale of the needs”, reacts Jean-Baptiste Hamomic, the mayor (Modem) of Villepreux, in the Yvelines. “We need quick confirmation that these 500 million euros are an additional envelope. And what will be the share for schools, colleges and high schools? “, asks for her part Delphine Labails, socialist mayor of Périgueux (Dordogne) and co-president of the education commission at the ociation of mayors of France, who also demands that “the methods of access to the Green Fund be reviewed and made more flexible”.

“Any additional contribution can obviously only be good news, but is it up to the challenge? I’m not sure, because the amounts coming from the Green Fund are out of proportion to the needs”, explains Audrey Linkenheld, first deputy (PS) to the mayor of Lille, citing the case of a school renovation in 6 million euros where it received 600,000 euros from the Green Fund.

The presidential ambition will also be based on mechanisms implemented with the Caisse des dépôts. As part of this school energy renovation program presented by the government in May, the Banque des Territoires had undertaken to lend 2 billion euros for works by 2027.

“Emmanuel Macron’s announcements are interesting because we are facing a colossal and urgent project. But borrowing should not be the main vehicle for financing this work when small towns have stretched budgets or are already heavily indebted. State subsidies should be prioritized towards school and extracurricular activities, ”said Jean-Michel Morer, various left-wing mayor of Trilport, in Seine-et-Marne, and vice-president of the ociation of small towns in France.

As they are often accustomed to say, local authorities face “a wall of investment” in this area. The Demarcq report of February 2020 thus estimated at 40 billion euros over ten years the investments necessary to achieve the objective of reducing energy consumption by 40% provided for by the tertiary decree for 2030.

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