Nice Smart Valley secures the electricity grid for Sainte Marguerite Island: A first in France!

On 16 July 2019, Enedis Côte d’Azur and the Cannes City Council inaugurated the Lérins Grid project.

The Lérins Islands form an archipelago off the coast of Cannes with Sainte Marguerite Island and Saint Honorat Island. As part of the Nice Smart Valley project, Enedis, Engie, Socomec and the Cannes City Council imagined an innovative, environmentally friendly solution to ensure electrical security for the Islands.

Securing the Islands’ electricity grid, alright but why?

The Lérins Islands are powered via an undersea cable connected to the mainland. If this cable were to yield for whatsoever reason (damage, weather conditions, boat anchor, etc.), the archipelago would then be cut off from any electric power supply, which represents the equivalent of the consumption of 400 customers in the peak season.

Within the framework of one of the three Nice Smart Valley use cases, islanding, we are experimenting the use of batteries, rather than generator sets, as a more environmentally friendly alternative.

Accordingly, in the event of a power outage on the main grid, the two batteries installed on Sainte Marguerite Island by Enedis and Engie will immediately take over without a power outage for the customer thanks to the management system developed by SOCOMEC.

This system continues to be managed from the public electricity distribution system, under the supervision of the Regional Management Office based in Toulon, thereby ensuring the same level of quality and security.

An innovative business model for a unique project!

This experiment on the Lérins Islands is unique, because it is a full-scale experiment on a medium- and low-voltage electricity grid, with several distribution substations and several batteries which we cause to communicate with one another. Economic viability, which is an essential aspect of any sustainable development project, is also an important area of research. ENEDIS and ENGIE have thus conceived a contract model which makes it possible to use the batteries even outside of islanding periods, which is fortunately a very rare event. “This islanding which seems simple is in fact a technically complex operation. […] We did a large number of tests upstream in the laboratory, then full-scale, in March”, points out Carole Ory, regional director of Enedis Alpes Maritimes.

“This project is a response to security, reliability and environmental protection for the electricity grid,” replies David Lisnard, mayor of Cannes.

Indeed, in addition to being a technological exploit, the deployment of this type of equipment in such an exceptional environment requires a complex preparatory phase and numerous precautions to protect the environment during the works.