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News blog8 May 2023

Local Energy Communities: «Centrales Villageoises» – a Local Citizen-owned Energy Communities’ Success Story

Local Energy Communities: «Centrales Villageoises» – a Local Citizen-owned Energy Communities’ Success Story

In 2010, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Energie Environnement (AURA-EE) together with 5 natural regional Parks initiated an experimental project named “Centrales Villageoises” whose model is now spreading throughout France.

The Centrales Villageoises are local citizenowned energy communities, defined as local entities whose shareholders are mainly citizens, local authorities as well as local companies. They aim to develop renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, at a territorial scale, taking into consideration the local stakes such as integration into landscape, economic local development and social link. 

The objective of this experimental project was to put renewable energy production projects at the service of the development of rural territories. From 2010 to 2014, the experimentation was piloted on 8 pilot sites and progressively led to the elaboration of local citizen-owned companies which developed and financed some first PV plants. The entire technical, legal and financial framework was then consolidated and enabled the concept to be replicated on other sites. In 2018, with the support of AURA-EE, the Association of Centrales Villageoises was created in order to further expand and support the model in France. The association provides one-stop shop services to the communities through framework agreements established with various companies (insurances, banks, engineering companies, DSO,..). AURA-EE works in close cooperation with the association in order to develop additional services.

The Centrales Villageoises local companies all abide by a charter. First, their governance is mainly driven by citizens who forge links with local municipalities. Their activities have to be consistent with the local public policies. In addition, they generate local benefits and contribute to the development of their territory. They also use a shared approach with common tools and services and share their experience to improve collectively the network’s technical resources. Last but not least, they behave in a supportive way and bring assistance to each other.

Results speak for themselves: In August 2021, 57 territories are currently involved and there are more than 350 PV installations in operation, operated by 32 Centrales Villageoises companies and €11 million already been invested. The 350 installations represent an installed capacity of 4.8 MWp and an annual production of 5.4 GWh.


Publication date
8 May 2023