A true pearl of the West Indies, Marie-Galante is a small paradise for its 10 000 residents and imany tourists. The island is a land of rural traditions that cultivates a peaceful way of life. It has a picturesque charm, countless white sand beaches, and lagoons bordered by coral reefs. With an area of 158 km², the island is commonly called the "Grande Galette" (big pancake) due to its circular shape and its low relief.
Today, on Marie-Galante, more than two-thirds of the energy consumed is imported from Guadeloupe with an electric carbon mix at more than 85%. This situation is no longer sustainable when taking into account the ecological and environmental situation.
Making Marie-Galante a European model of energy transition
Marie-Galante wants to engage in the clean energy transition and green growth, and is currently carrying out an ambitious "Demonstrateur Industriel pour la Ville Durable" project, under a programme launched by the French government in 2015. In fact, it was the only overseas project to win the 2016 call for projects launched by the government. The innovative project is further supported by European funds.
Marie-Galante's project is based on a dual transition, looking at both energetic and digital aspects. This transition will allow for sustainable agriculture, habitat and tourism and will offer a model for energy efficiency. It will promote the development of innovative local businesses, greater social cohesion and job creation.
The project designed by Marie-Galante Ile Durable aims at the island’s energy autonomy through a 100% renewable, local and economically competitive energy mix. It responds to the guidelines set for the French overseas departments by the Law on the Energy Transition for Green Growth.
Promoting sustainable agriculture through the energy transition
In Marie-Galante, French renewable energy provider CNR is developing a model of 100% renewable energy autonomy, while exporting the excess electricity produced during the day to Guadeloupe. It is based on agrivoltaic projects (solar photovoltaic production associated with agriculture without agricultural land consumption) and electricity storage, that complement the renewable electricity generation already present in the territory.
Combining energy production and agricultural production has the double advantage of not consuming agricultural land for conventional photovoltaic projects, and to provide farmers with modern infrastructure to boost agriculture (greenhouses, irrigation, shelters, fences, renovated access roads. The energy production project will also make Marie-Galante the first French island autonomous in energy, develop and energize diversification agriculture.
Challenges and solutions ahead
Marie-Galante Ile Durable is an ambitious project with many different actors. The innovative character of a project of this scale requires ongoing communication and regular exchange with the local population. Many events like bicycle tours are organize to present and discuss climate change and the need for a change in the island's energy model. Marie-Galante Ile Durable is committed to ensuring that local stakeholders are invested in and informed about the project.