How citizen energy takes the light in Grenoble

The citizen's renewable energy cooperative movement is gaining momentum in Europe. Patagonia, which supports these initiatives, went to Grenoble to find out how its residents decided to take control of their energy future.

Previously reserved for large companies, electricity production is now a sector that attracts many citizen initiatives. All over Europe, residents, associations and local authorities are getting involved and working hand in hand to produce their own electricity. Today, one million European citizens are involved in this citizen energy movement. By 2050, this number could exceed 260 million citizens who together contribute to generate up to 45 % of the European Union's electricity from citizen energy.

Like mountain guide Zoe Hart, involved in this type of initiative in Chamonix Through the Mont-Blanc 2.0 association, the city of Grenoble has also joined this movement, which promotes local employment, reduces energy bills, preserves the environment and strengthens the social fabric. In concrete terms, it is through the Energ'Y Citoyennes project (see the video below made by Patagonia) that solar panels are installed on the roofs of buildings in the neighborhoods of the second largest agglomeration in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

Each resident who subscribes to one or more Énerg'Y Citoyennes shares (via this address) is actively and concretely participating in the ecological transition of its living space. Thanks to collective savings, the company produces local renewable energy in the form of photovoltaic electricity and wood heat. The sale of the energy injected into the local networks generates profits which are then used to develop new projects. 

"Everyone must be able to choose the energy future they want," explains Julien Robillard, president of Énerg'Y Citoyennes. "Taking action gives us back control over the energy we consume. It is important to give residents the right to collectively manage the energy projects that will power their city.

Énerg'Y Citoyennes has produced a cumulative total of 1 GWh since its creation in 2016 (see all the sites concerned on this card). Last year, a fourth wood heating network was also installed thanks to this citizen energy project, while a first roof on a new social housing in Jarrie was built with Alpes Isère Habitat for an electricity production announced at 32 kWp.

In addition to this initiative in Grenoble, Patagonia also supports other initiatives across Europe. To know more about it, we advise you to listen to season 2 of journalist and activist Lucy Siegle's podcast which gives voice to the people who are engaged in renewable energy on the old continent to put power in the hands of the people. Patagonia's 38-minute film "We The Power" (see below) also highlights energy cooperatives and their historical players as the brand reference on its website the various citizen energy cooperatives set up across the country. A good opportunity to discover what is being done near you, to join a local initiative or to create your own citizen cooperative.