May 14 to 17 2020
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The smart grid, made in Belle-Île

In Belle-Île-en-Mer, the Flex’Mob’Île project is experimenting the smart grid in an area comparable to an urban area, from both a size and transport challenge standpoint.  Presented at inOut 2019, this project will most certainly be instructive for those wanting to combine solar energy, electric vehicles and smart charging systems. On an island or elsewhere.

In Belle-Île-en-Mer, the Flex’Mob’Île project is experimenting the smart grid in an area comparable to an urban area, from both a size and transport challenge standpoint.  Presented at inOut 2019, this project will most certainly be instructive for those wanting to combine solar energy, electric vehicles and smart charging systems. On an island or elsewhere.

Flex’Mob’Île is heading to Belle-Île-en-Mer! Starting in May, 2019, and for a total of 3 years, residents and visitors from the largest island of the Morbihan will become testers for an experiment which is looking to eventually combine electric car-sharing vehicles, smartly-managed charging stations and production and storage of photovoltaic energy. This is a partnership which includes ENEDIS as operator of the electric network on the island, the Renault Group provider of the 20 available individual electric vehicles, Morbihan Energies public-service organising federation for energy distribution, Les Cars Bleus major mobility player in Belle-Île-en-Mer, and of course all its towns in the area where the testing will be taking place.

Energy autonomy and intelligence

After having made 10 electric vehicles available and having implemented 20 charging stations in 2019, Flexmob’île is looking to increase the number of vehicles and charge points before 2021. To start, users must bring the car back to the place they took it, and then later on, users can take a car and leave it at any charge point which will be fed with photovoltaic energy from panels placed on the roofs of the island’s public buildings. Or, more precisely using the excess energy produced by these solar panels once the energy needs of the buildings are covered. Since this experiment was designed in several closely-knit phases, the project would have never been possible without the tight partnership between the various stakeholders. Marc Posnic, regional direction of ENEDIS Morbihan and Ille & Villaine, in charge of the Flex’Mob’Ile and the electric mobility manager in Brittany explains: “We really want to co-build solutions with all the regional mobility players. We can’t do this alone. In this program, ENEDIS aims to experiment connection and management solutions for smart and innovative charging to lower the insertion cost of electric vehicles in the electric system and to test solutions to hopefully make them become part of the norm.”

An ideal testing area

Why Belle-Île-en-Mer? Because first off, ENEDIS and its partners found a network of enthusiastic players for this kind of experimentation but also, due to its inhabitants – the major project target – all very gung-ho for sustainable mobility. “Very often, people living on islands are fervent defenders of energy and ecological transition,” underlines Jean-Philippe Lamarcade, regional director in Brittany for ENEDIS. Given its topography, the island has certain features making it comparable to a city district allowing to draw conclusions for the latter but also to see how inhabitants move around on a district-specific scale. “Even if all the transport needs can’t be covered by this type of solution, we believe that 85% of city-travel is at the same scale as a district” explains Jean-Philippe Lamarcade. He continues to say that: “We could look at cities like archipelagos of islands, totally corresponding to what we’re looking to test in Belle-Île”. This energy leader is driven by issues such as social use and acceptance of car-sharing, energy flow management and storage among other things, and they want to do everything possible to smoothly introduce the establishment of electric mobility solutions, finding the most suitable answers, notably in terms of infrastructure.

Either electric mobility will be intelligent or it won’t …

For 2030, 6 million electric vehicles are foreseen and around 7 million charging stations, of which 700,000 public and with already 25,000 today. Besides the fast roll-out rhythm of these new infrastructures, they also give rise to an intellectual challenge regarding which technical choices to make to limit installation costs, notably for the connections … and simultaneously trying to save public funds. But also in the management of charging systems to organise a coherent distribution of energy during peak consumption periods, to precisely avoid having additional infrastructures built. “Since we want to save money on infrastructure costs, the charge points should allow for power adjustments which will perhaps mean cars will still be able to charge but at a much slower pace. […] If this can be integrated into our mentality then any investments for implementing electric mobility are within our reach,” sums up Jean-Philippe Lamarcade. So, let’s make it a date in 3 years (at inOut?) to discover all that was learned from this original experience!

Photo credits : Renault

Publié le 11 September 2019

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