Renewable energy turnaround in Alsace

Energivie is bringing innovative strategies for sustainable development to fruition in the Alsace region of France. Co-financed by the ERDF, the Alsace Regional Council and the ADEME, the project is raising the profile of renewable energies in the region, most particularly from solar and wood-based sources.

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Renewable energy production high on the agenda in Alsace Renewable energy production high on the agenda in Alsace

“Thanks to the Energivie project, eco-friendly heating in the form of wood-fired boilers was brought to homes in La Petite Pierre near Strasbourg, the Ambroise Croizat holiday centre and an old people’s home.”
Mayor of La Petite Pierre

The project saw the installation of 1 000 individual solar-powered water heaters in 2003 and 10 000 m² of solar captors in 2004. Financial incentives were put in place to stimulate the use of renewable energies in the tourism and farming sectors and grants were given to students looking at renewable energy use at Strasbourg’s engineering and architecture school, INSA.

Creating supply and demand

The project was managed directly by the Alsace Regional Council which strengthened local partnerships, particularly with communes and other local authorities in the area.

The Alsace Regional Council pursued three major goals:

  • promoting solar and wood-based energy sources – this  was done by setting up a system of regional facilitators to encourage investment in renewable energy equipment and conducting experiments with biogas, low energy consumption in buildings and roofs incorporating photovoltaic cells.
  • stimulating demand for renewable energies – this was achieved through a publicity campaign targeting the general public in the first citizen-based funding operation, experiments on energy use in 12 old buildings in Mulhouse and studies on renewable energy prospects for the future.
  • using renewable energies to reinvigorate the economy – this was accomplished through the setting up of a cluster dedicated to renewable energies (Energivie) and through the creation of a French labeling system on low energy consumption buildings.

Ensuring continuity

Renewable energy use in the Alsace region is on the rise as a direct result of the project. The positive results of the project have speeded up the creation of a regional policy to promote renewable energy and to ensure its development.

Private sector involvement in the strategy has led to a greater offer in renewable energy-related equipment and services. The profile of new sustainable forms of energy have grown thanks in part to the publicity given to the project at the international solar fair, Intersolar in Freiburg, as well as to the publicity given at an annual trade fair set up especially for those active in the renewable energy sector in the Alsace region.

Low energy consumption buildings are now also included in the work of the project’s steering committee which continues to operate and expand. An Energivie newsletter is published regularly and the Energivie cluster continues to seek new ways forward.

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