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The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region – a hotbed of positive-energy areas for green growth

In total, 528 applications were received for the positive-energy areas for green growth (TEPCV) call for projects, reflecting widespread local mobilisation on energy transition matters. In February 2015, French Minister Ségolène Royal announced the 212 winners of the TEPCV label, each of which will receive €500,000 of financial assistance to implement projects in six key areas: energy efficiency, electric mobility, circular economy, biodiversity, citizenship, and local promotion. The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region is home to eight of the selected territories, as well as 20 areas selected under the “future positive-energy territories” scheme.

Below are examples of two of the TEPCV territories: Pays Serre-Ponçon Ubaye Durance and Nice Côte d’Azur

Pays Serre-Ponçon Ubaye Durance’s strategy is to become a “100% positive-energy territory, helping to drive local development” and, ultimately, to pave the way for sustainable development. This local initiative spans a two-year period and costs a total of €988,000.
The area’s bid is divided into six flagship actions, spread across the territory.
The first action involves establishing an Alpine eco-cluster, encompassing the Pays Sud and Communauté des Communes de l’Embrunais areas, to drive economic development by creating a productive ecosystem that spurs business growth in sustainable construction, building and territory energy efficiency, and renewable energy production. This will be achieved through local, cross-border and European partnership programmes.
The second action, focusing this time on behavioural sociology, aims to develop awareness-raising, communication and education campaigns to get local authorities, local decision-makers and citizens involved in implementing exemplary energy transition initiatives.
Other actions will concentrate on urban planning, including a property development project in the Saint Laurent district, an energy self-sufficient eco-district, and the creation and development of a car-sharing area in the Communauté des Communes du Savinois Serre Ponçon – an alternative to public transport in a location with challenging terrain. Further major initiatives will focus on energy efficiency, including the deployment of street lighting energy renovation projects in Barcelonnette. This will involve replacing 634 inefficient street lamps, modernising 25 control boxes, and replacing 150 bulbs with energy-efficient alternatives, helping to reduce street lighting energy consumption by 30%.The Embrunais-Savinois inter-communal street lighting authority will also be undertaking a similar initiative, renovating its equipment to cut total electricity use by 50%. Finally, a social housing building in Saint-Vincent-Les-Forts will undergo an energy renovation project, with a view to providing low-cost rental properties powered by renewable energy.

The Nice Côte d’Azur (NCA) territory is also looking to develop a stand-out strategy, focusing on three major actions. NCA’s first action involves modernising all of the street lamps across the metropolitan area, reducing power from 130 W to 50 W per lamp (2.6 times less than the initial consumption figure).

The second initiative focuses on “clean mobility”, reflecting the strategy outlined in the Alpes Maritimes Sud atmosphere protection plan. The target is for all fleets in excess of 50 vehicles to have at least 30% clean vehicles. This will be done by replacing the existing vehicle fleet with electric alternatives. The ultimate aim is to achieve emissions of 110 gCO2/km across the entire fleet, thereby saving 38 tCO2eq per year.

The final action involves increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix. One of the major initiatives involves exploring the feasibility of a hydroelectric power plant in the Haut Pays Niçois area (on the Vionène river). If feasible, the power plant should attain production output of around 7,500 MWh per year.

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Local energy transition stakeholders give their views

What is your territory’s energy transition strategy?
Chantal Eymeoud, President of Pays S.U.D.: The basic premise of our intended energy transition strategy is to become electricity and heat self-sufficient. We’re also looking to boost economic growth through the green economy and mountain areas. In my view, the work we’re doing on ultra-energy-efficient mountain resorts and engaging with economic stakeholders is crucial to our territory’s future.

How will you know if the TEPCV initiative has been effective?
Yves Prufer, Head of the Metropolitan Energy Performance Agency, Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur (NCA): The project will be a success if all the actions are carried through to completion, including building the hydroelectric power plant, putting a funding strategy in place and establishing a project management framework. TEPCV is a “catalyst for local authority initiatives”.