“Citizen projects”, a lever to accelerate the development of renewable energies

Citizen Hyrôme wind farm in Chemillé-en-Anjou (Maine-et-Loire), in October 2020.

Suddenly, the four retirees are leaning over their phones. “The meeting is tonight?” But tomorrow there’s another one, right? » They are invested in the management of a citizen wind farm in Beaupréau-en-Mauges (Maine-et-Loire), and their agenda is always full. On their screens, they all also have an application that indicates, in real time, the production of the wind turbines located above their heads. The first operates at a power of 840 kilowatts (kW), the second at 1,530 kW. The third is stopped: fuse problem, in the process of being repaired.

Barely a year ago, a hundred people gathered at this same site in the middle of cornfields to celebrate the launch of the park. Since then, it has produced around 21,000 megawatt hours, enough to supply electricity (excluding heating and hot water) to around 7,000 homes. “I hope it will be the worst year and that we will produce even more in the future”smiles Jean-Robert Traineau, president of the structure that manages the site. Its particularity: it is 60% owned by about 220 inhabitants. During the public meetings, a small group of “pioneers”, excited about the experience of other citizen parks located in the vicinity, convinced them to undertake the adventure in turn.

Also read the archive (2019): Article reserved for our subscribers Ecological transition: in Brittany, the citizen wind turbines of Plélan-le-Grand

Over the last ten years, citizens and local authorities have become increasingly involved in renewable energy production, which is by nature more decentralized than fossil or nuclear production. shared energyone of the main support structures for these citizen projects, currently has 280 of them for some 30,000 shareholders. “Territorial actors, residents and local authorities have access to the governance of these projects and not only have a financial role, unlike participatory projects, says Xavier Rabilloud of Shared Energy. A private actor that opens 10% of its capital to crowdfunding is not a citizen project. »

Marginal share in electricity production

Although they have multiplied since the early 2010s, mainly in photovoltaic and wind power, these citizen installations only represent an extremely marginal part of electricity production (less than 1%). While the government says it wants to go ” Too much faster “ in the development of renewable energies, to compensate for France’s backwardness in this area and to face the climate and energy crisis, the actors in the sector assure, however, that they can be “a tremendous acceleration lever” of Transition

You have 69.08% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *