French town develops self-consumption of energy, with EU support –

The mayor of the French city of Dijon inaugurated a unique energy self-consumption project funded by the European RESPONSE program and intended to strengthen the region’s eco-references. EURACTIV France traveled to Bourgogne Franche-Comté for the inauguration.

Read the original article in French here.

In Fontaine d’Ouche, a district of Dijon with 10,000 inhabitants of 42 nationalities, the new bi-facial solar panels installed on the roof of the Buffon school got off to a somewhat overcast start, with heavy rain and clouds.

But inside the building, the city’s mayor, François Rebsamen, described the project, which produces 300 MWh/year, as “unique in Europe”.

Dijon, along with the Finnish city of Turku, has been selected as a pilot for the European RESPONSE program, which brings together 53 private and public partners from 13 countries. With its own budget of 23 million euros, including 7.4 million euros in Dijon, it is part of the pan-European program of 80 billion euros “Horizon 2020: Smart Cities & Communities”.

The objective is to develop positive energy poles which, in addition to meeting their own energy needs, export their additional production to other local consumers. The program in Dijon is divided into two parts; the Buffon school and the reduction of the energy consumption of 487 homes in the district.

The school’s panels are expected to meet approximately 30% of the energy consumption of the 14 administrative buildings in the area. Overall, the project aims to produce 20% more energy than it consumes, while reducing its carbon emissions by 75%.

“Ecology for all”

To stand out from the 100 other candidate cities that were also vying to be part of the pilot, the city offered to develop the program in an existing neighborhood.

This program is “the largest self-consumption operation in France in existing buildings”, explained Yves Chevillon, director of regional action for EDF in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, present at the event.

Oanez Codet-Hache, head of urban ecology for the Dijon metropolis, underlined the political will to implement the program, as well as the district’s thermal renovation program and the awarding of the eco-district label by the State. French in 2017.

Membership of residents

As for the houses that will benefit from the program, it was important that their inhabitants “own the project”, declared Sarah Bello, head of urban renewal at the Dijon metropolis.

However, the nature of the implementation is critical, so as not to impose maintenance burdens on the 80 high and low tech integrations in their homes.

The new equipment includes approximately €1,700 worth of equipment produced by the Lyon-based company OGGA, which specializes in smart home equipment, making it possible to adapt consumption to the needs and habits of residents, for example by turning off the heating when a tenant turns off the lights.

But the feedback has been positive, and Bello said residents were “pretty happy with the outcome.”

In the longer term, the authorities and project partners need two years to analyze the first phase of deployment in 102 homes. These years of piloting the project should make it possible to ensure that the gains announced, namely a reduction of 25 to 30% in the energy bill of an apartment, are achievable.

Energy efficiency projects have a precedent in Dijon, as three years ago the city adopted a “Sur Dijon” project, which aims to reduce the city’s energy consumption by 65% ​​by 2030.

It has also commissioned a solar power plant capable of supplying more than 8,000 inhabitants, started the production of biogas up to 10 GWh/year and opened 100 million euros of financing to produce green hydrogen.

It was followed by the RESPONSE program, launched in 2020.

“It’s natural” for a territory that has been innovating “for more than 20 years”, declared the mayor of Dijon.

[Edited by Alice Taylor/Nathalie Weatherald]

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