Tournesol MicroGrids Association
The Tournesol MicroGrids association as the goal to act for the promotion and development of micro-grid networks in France and in the world. We hope to support stakeholders studying, developing and building micro-grids.
Since the year 2000, the mass introduction of renewable energy sources in the existing grid has become a challenge to its management. Indeed, the only two mature, and largely installed, sources are the PV panels and the wind power turbines. Those two technologies are characterized by three main factors, a low unit price (and dropping), an intermittent and a distributed production. Those characteristics prevents them from being normally integrated to the current electrical grid.
However, the French government objectives are very clear (cf. Loi de Transition Énergétique pour la Croissance Verte). The ecological, geological and even geopolitical threats drives a strong integration for renewable sources into the local communities’ mix.
Working in micro networks (or micro-girds) is one of the solution for the mass integration of renewable distributed energy sources. A micro-grid is a distribution network in which are included a consumption component, distributed energy sources, and that has the possibility to disconnect from the main grid. This micro network is usually doubled with a “Smart Grid” in order to ensure a quality of service and optimize the gird locally. This last characteristic is making the micro-grid especially interesting when inserting technologies linked with sustainable development, energy efficiency and flexibility.
According to Navigant Research, since 2009 the micro-grid development tendency has been confirmed. Especially by a strong growth in the USA, in Asia and in Europe. In 2013, only 400 projects of micro-grids were in progress, for 1400 planned in 2016. The total installed power represent 13 CW (which covers approximately 6 million French households).
It exists several typology of micro-grids according to its purpose and applications: military, industrial or community based. The community based micro grid is a micro network, in which a part of the production systems is owned by the local civil society, with the objective to make the territory autonomous in terms of energy. This is the type of micro grid that we especially support at Tournesol MG.
Despite a strong growth of the micro grid market (all applications together), the community-based micro grid is still marginal and unknown to the public, especially in France. However, the deployment of this solution is desirable and foreseeable in certain cases.
The Tournesol project
With those facts in mind, the Tournesol project is launching a world study of the community based micro grids, according to three criteria:
- What are the suitable territories for the deployment of micro grids? What are the inhabitants’ motivation?
- How are the local community embedded in the energy project?
- Once the micro grid installed, what are the new needs and desire of the local community?
For this purpose, the Tournesol team has identify 30 micro grid projects, over 3 continents. In each of the 3 areas of the world, we are working on a specific problematic of the community-based micro grid.
- Europe with the integration of the prosumers in the micro grid project
- Northern America with the business model of the micro grid
- South East Asia with the urban consumption control and the industrialisation of the micro grid
In each of those geographical zones, we will meet local stakeholders as well as public servants, project leaders and DSOs, institutional partners, energy producers and consumers. Our purpose being to piece together the micro grid ecosystem and to extract the key success factors of each project.
Finally, our action is supported by a set of tools that supports an open and transparent communication between all the stakeholders and the community micro-grids.
Arthur is an engineer specialised in energy and network management. He received a master’s degree of the University of Paris Diderot. He then worked for EDF in the CIST (Center of Transport System Engineering) on the optimisation of the offer/demand equilibrium. “I have dreamed of making this project happen, for now a year and a half. The electricity network and its integration at the local level is a passion.”
Stanislas received a master’s degree in business and administration from the ESCE, Paris (France) and the University of Mainz (Germany). He realised is thesis on the deployment of IT technical solution in large companies. He worked in several countries, including Bolivia, Russia, Germany and the USA. “I have worked on technical solutions before and the idea of engaging the community for a better energy future is my biggest motivation.”
Victor is an economist specialised in the energy questions. He received a master’s of the University Paris Diderot. He then worked with EDF on the interactions between energy and territory, to shape the vision of the future energy transition. He worked especially with the Atelier Energie et Territoire, Think tank of EDF. “I joined Tournesol because I believe that the future of the energy transition is local. The micro grid is a viable solution to transform the socio dynamic of local communities.”