The Breton islands are at the forefront of the energy transition

In 2015, the islands of Ushant, Sein and Molène embarked on a programme that aims to make them self-sufficient using a closed-loop energy mix by 2030.

The Ponant islands association has been awarded, for Ushant, Molène and Sein, the “Boucle énergétique locale (Local energy loop)” call for projects of the Bretagne region, as well as another national call for projects including Batz and Saint-Nicolas des Glénan. Overall funding for this programme amounts to €1.5 million over three years for the five Breton islands.  According to the association, the islands have already reduced their energy consumption by 1,100 MWh in one year. For Ushant, Molène and Sein, this corresponds to a 16% reduction in CO2 emissions. The goal is to reach 30% by three years.

The system put in place includes the installation of photovoltaic power stations (150 MWH produced) in Ushant and Sein, but also the distribution of LED bulbs, the insulation of public buildings or grants for the purchase of appliances consuming less energy. Other photovoltaic installations should be gradually implemented on the five islands, as well as wind turbines in Sein and Ushant.

The Sabella D10 tidal turbine must also be submerged in September in the Fromveur passage and connected to Ushant for a 3-year operation. It should provide 15% of the energy needs of the island which has 800 inhabitants (against 5% during the first submersion). Two more tidal turbines are expected to be installed by 2021 to cover 35-40% of electricity needs.

Thus, the island of Ushant has become a veritable laboratory of energy transition, attracting the attention of the islanders across the whole world. In one year, Indonesian, Inuit and Quebec delegations arrived. The Canadian Magdalen Islands (12,000 inhabitants) are facing the same problems, due to not being connected to the continental network and producing their electricity via a diesel thermal power station. The delegation therefore wishes to create synergies and replicate Ushant’s actions. An international forum on island issues will be organised in the Magdalen Islands in 2018 to formalise cooperation.

 

Sources : Lettre API – 12/09/2017, Ouest France – 27/11/2017