Saint-Julien-Montdenis joins forces with local utility to take action

PV plant on the mountains in the town of Saint-Julien Montdenis (c) SOREA

PV plant on the mountains in the town of Saint-Julien Montdenis (c) SOREA

Published by Yannick Régnier on 25/09/2013

The mayor of Saint-Julien-Montdenis, Marc Tournabien, was thinking about energy autonomy for a while (back in the 90’s). When he was elected in 2008, he turned his will into reality, with several renewable energies and energy efficiency projects.

In mountain regions, ski resorts are a place of culture shock between the local people and urban “hipsters”. This culture shock brings (also) positive outputs: the local people consider new technologies quite normal and usual. So is Marc Tournabien an enthusiastic promoter of the deployment of high-speed optic fiber with the aim to reinvigorate the local economy and tourism.

A local supply of electricity covering the needs after only a few years

In the last years, a 2 MW hydro plant and several medium photovoltaic plants were installed. The local production exceeds from 150% the total electricity needs of the village. Thanks to these latest installations, the whole association of towns Cœur de Maurienne is supplied with electricity from renewable energy sources only. Now a new challenge is tackled: dealing with local electricity dispatching. Two projects are on-going: smart metering combined with load management and decentralised storage on batteries associated to PV units.

A precious territorial partner

How things happen so fast, in this small mountain village, based an initial political commitment? Just because all necessary competences were made available within the public-private territorial utility SOREA. SOREA was created in 2007 from the gathering of small existing municipal utilities, among others to develop hydro and solar projects. The mayor of Saint-Julien-Montdenis is a member of its board. Its headquarters, a smart building at passive house standard, is located in the village.

Generally, inhabitants are friends of RES: many of them have installed solar thermal panels and wood heating systems.

And now, let's engage the whole territory !

Saint-Julien-Montdenis is leading the way on energy for its surrounding territory (together with Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne). At the time, Cœur de Maurienne has not yet established a strategy on energy. May the example of Saint-Julien-Montdenis be a driving force for the whole territory on the way to full energy autonomy in the future!