Citizen wind park “les Ailes des Crêtes”: the Ardennes still at the cutting edge of innovation

Visit on the work site of the citizen wind park Ailes des Crêtes

Visit on the work site of the citizen wind park Ailes des Crêtes (c) Enercoop Ardennes Champagne

Published by Ingrid Julien on

The first citizen wind park of the Champagne Ardennes Region will see the light in the Ardennes department in 2015.

The collective appropriation of energy is of common interest

This park is part of a dynamic of relocation of the activity initiated in the years 2000 by the Community of Councils of the Crêtes Préardennaises. This project seeks to demonstrate that the collective appropriation of energy is of common interest.

Considering the issues linked to energy, the use of wind power truly appears as a way of meeting the needs of the territory, and the participation of local actors in its production guarantees local benefits. The ultimate aim is the citizen control of the price of energy.

This momentum has triggered a number of structures: the local wind-power developer Enéole (2004) and the cooperative Enercoop Ardennes Champagne (2009) and citizen projects have been launched.

In many ways, a unique wind park in France

The citizen wind park the “Ailes des Crêtes” is the outcome of this process. This park has three wind turbines producing a total of 2.4 MW that were set up for a cost of €3.4M is reaching its investment phase for 2014 to 2015. It is located on the towns of Bouvellemont and Chagny; it will produce 4800 MWh/year equivalent to the energy consumption of its administrative district (1600 homes) and of 18% of the homes of the Community of Councils for the Crêtes Préardennaises.

Two wind-power companies of the simplified joint-stock type with variable capital were created in April 2014. “Les Ailes des Crêtes B1” and les “Ailes des Crêtes C2”. The works began in the spring of 2014; the cable ducts and foundations have been completed and the activation of the Enercon wind turbines is planned for July 2015.

In many ways, this is a unique wind park in France:

  • investment is 100% open to citizens and available from €100 upwards;
  • the Solidarity Chain operation by the communes toward the park: 30 towns of the territory have invested via Enercoop Ardennes Champagne with the region and the Community of Councils of the Crêtes Préardennaises
  • one of the park’s wind turbines is exclusively for children; parents can subscribe €100 shares in the name of their children; hence, the current generation will leave a sustainable heritage to the future generations;
  • for one wind turbine, the electricity will be sold to Enercoop (for its 100% green offer). This specificity will create tax benefits for this investment.
Ailes Crêtes Options d'investissement

The investment in the park is open to all and can be done in different ways:

  • via Enercoop Ardennes Champagne, by subscribing to €100 shares that will reward according to profit and limited to the average yield of bonds,
  • via Énergie Partagée, through subscription to €100 shares of the capital, pay-off: 4% gross/year is the target,
  • Directly, either individually or in investor clubs, subscription of €5000 capital shares, pay-off between 5 and 7% gross/year (average over 15 years) with the possibility of tax reductions equivalent to €900 per share.
Ailes Crêtes Montant collecté

Illustration: Amount collected in October 2014 for a €3.4M budget

Today, over 200 investors among whom 40 children and 32 communities are involved in the project and by the end of the year, the amount collected will have reached one million Euros, equivalent to 30% of the total cost of the project.

To summarize:

  • Initiators of the project: Enéole, Enercoop Ardennes Champagne, the local Ardennes agency for Energy and Climate
  • Partner: Community of Councils of the Crêtes Préardennaises
  • Financial partners: Energie Partagée, the Kids&Wind foundation, Enercoop