Serre Chevalier leads eco revolution

21st November 2019, by Abi Butcher

A wind turbine on the Col du Prorel in Serre Chevalier, part of its Renewable Energy project

A wind turbine on the Col du Prorel in Serre Chevalier, part of its Renewable Energy project

A second wind turbine has been installed on the Col du Prorel in Serre Chevalier, continuing the rollout of its Renewable Energy (RE) project and ecological revolution.

The wind turbine, installed by in mid-October is close to the first one which was installed at the end of 2018. The turbine stands at less than 12 metres high, with an energy capacity of 10 kW and has proven to resist winds of up to 130 km/h.

Serre Chevalier began its €3.6 million Renewable Energy project in 2016, with a planned completion date of 2021. The project is using three technologies simultaneously —hydroelectricity, photovoltaics and micro wind turbines— to produce between 30% and 50% of the area’s total electricity consumption, without having an impact on the landscape or resources.

Photovoltaic panels were first installed during the 2018-19 season, and continue to be installed on rooftops throughout the resort, including ropeway stations, engine rooms and service buildings, with 13 sites operational from this season that will produce 150,000 kWh/year of power.

Additionally, the cold, altitude and reflection of light off the snow have boosted overall production of electricity by some 10% more than manufacturer predictions — with as much as 25% higher production than estimated on some sites.

The brand new Eychauda chairlift has been directly fitted by POMA with flexible SunWind Design solar panels. These bipod panels are a trial of all-new photovoltaic technology, that will produce energy from the reflection of light off the snow onto the adjacent panel.

The assembly of this installation is planned for the last quarter of 2019 on the Prorel station roof and will provide the finishing touches for the two other stations which have been transformed this year.

Relying on the interaction between the different RE types, Serre Chevalier’s programme will create a useful, immediate and self-sufficient level of energy consumption. Over the winter, non-storable energy produced by the photovoltaic panels and wind turbines is immediately used by the 58 ropeways installations, 14 engine rooms, 577 snowmaking systems and the area’s other service buildings. Out of season, the electricity generated will power the pump and water system to four existing hill reservoirs.

Patrick Arnaud, general manager of SCV-Domaine skiable said the RE project is achieving results beyond anyone’s expectations.

“Since its conception, the Serre Chevalier Ski Area RE programme aimed to give real life to the idea of energy transition in the mountains,” said Mr Arnaud. “This year, the first equipment installations have achieved results that go beyond our expectations. There’s also a real change in mentality which is beginning to take shape around the ‘RE capital’ we are bringing to our mountains, with industry partners such as POMA shaking up their methods and processes to integrate new equipment solutions in partnership with inventors and in order to serve the ski area.”

He added: “In fact, more than being a genuine laboratory for Compagnie des Alpes, the Serre Chevalier RE project demonstrates the importance of collaboration between industrial players and researchers, partners, institutions, administrations and local politicians to tackle the climate and energy challenge. Of course, we will continue the concrete implementation of this programme until it is fully operational, but at the same time, we are thinking, and already acting, for a more global approach to move from energy transition to a genuine ecological transition.”

To read Where to Ski & Snowboard‘s independent review of Serre Chevalier click here.

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