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Covenant of Mayors - Europe
News article7 November 2023

Fostering Energy Communities in Marseille, France

Marseille is fostering a transformative energy community through citizen-led initiatives, partnerships with local energy companies and municipal efforts, such as installing solar panels on public school buildings.


The city of Marseille is aiming to boost its renewable energy production by amplifying grassroots movements and guiding new approaches. It’s now on the move in collaboration with local actors who are working to establish energy communities by following a bottom-up approach. Many projects are focusing on installing solar panels on residential, municipal and cultural buildings, including the successful coverage of a local art centre.

Energy communities are groups of local people or organisations that team up to produce renewable energy for their neighbourhoods. Working with organisations such as local cooperatives and energy companies, Marseille is aiming for a future where buildings across the territory will produce and consume energy locally within a one-kilometre radius.

A collaborative effort

Collaboration has been a key driver in expanding Marseille’s energy communities. The municipality has teamed up with citizen initiatives such as Marseillia Sun Systems and Enercoop; the latter has been engaged in promoting energy communities for many years. Moving forward, the city administration is keen to continue fostering such partnerships. The plan is to systematise energy communities in the city, developing a model that integrates renewable energy systems into the landscape and engages local companies in the renewable energy sector.

In parallel, the city is also in the process of launching a municipal energy company focusing on renewable energy production. The strategic goal behind these developments is to create a blend of citizen-led communities, municipal funding and assets, leading to a dynamic and self-sustaining energy ecosystem within the city.

Results and next steps

The Sirius project, a large-scale renovation and energy production initiative, will showcase the potential of energy communities in Marseille. By sparking widespread citizen engagement, this project is enabling the development of localised energy production and consumption models. More importantly, it has introduced the idea of significant cost savings for local people through local energy production. 

The Sirius project is aiming to reduce emissions by 90% and heating consumption by 80% while increasing renewable energy use by 20%. However, the ambition to achieve free electricity for renters presents significant challenges, particularly in terms of managing and regulating energy consumption to avoid a potential explosion in usage.

As part of the future development of Marseille’s energy communities, the city plans to involve more local companies in its initiatives. This strategy will ensure that the corporate sector is actively investing in the city’s energy future. 

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Publication date
7 November 2023