The old air base located in Marville-Montmédy in the Meuse has completed its conversion. Built within the framework of NATO and formerly used for the operations of the fighter planes of the Canadian army, it is located on an immense ground of 155 hectares which accommodates, today, the second largest photovoltaic power station of France after that. from Cestas in Gironde.
The plant will be operated jointly by the company TSE and the company Enerparc. The two companies have invested 40 million euros each in this project.
Scheduled to come into operation for a first part on Saturday, May 1 and for the rest in September, it should eventually provide electricity for 23,000 inhabitants. This is what a spokesperson for the TSE company explained in a press release: “TSE will begin to gradually integrate energy into the grid from Saturday, and will operate in its entirety from June 1. The other half of the plant, managed by Enerparc, is a little behind schedule and will in turn come into service in September. With an installed capacity of 152 MWp (Megawatt-peak), the plant will generate a total production of around 156 Gigawatt hours per year, ie the equivalent of the annual consumption of 23,000 inhabitants " .
In comparison, the Cestas power station generates an installed capacity of 300 MWp.
This second life for the field is the joy of local representatives. In fact, in addition to the economic benefits of the project, the latter brings the municipality into the ecological transition through the front door. Not to mention the 375,000 euros in rent per year that TSE and Enerparc will have to pay. This is what Mr Eric Dumont, president of the community of communes of the Pays de Montmédy, owner of the land, reported: “Several factors mean that we can only be delighted with this project. In terms of energy transition, it is an excellent contribution: the second photovoltaic power plant in France is not nothing. And that allows us to control a military wasteland, which is not easy to manage ”.
Remaining eco-responsible until the end, the company also stressed that it: “has delegated the management of grassed areas to a young local sheep farmer in organic farming who was able to settle thanks to this project .” So instead and instead of weedkiller, the sheep will take care of the maintenance of the green spaces.
For Mr Dumont, the site today has several advantages. First of all, it offers a "double ecological aspect" : the installation of the young shepherd, and the reconversion of part of the base into a small ornithological reserve for the protection of the passerine. Then, it reinforces " the attractiveness of the territory " .
The local elected representative is also delighted by the good reception of the project by its inhabitants. Indeed, he recalls that: " The installations have no visual impact, it is not like wind turbines, it is discreet".
The icing on the cake, a last part of the site can even be used by small planes from the local flying club and microlights as long as the runway and the taxiways of the old base remain operational. It will not be hampered by the solar panels which are arranged on the surroundings.
Mr Dumont, who sees far and who seems determined to optimize the operation of the site, indicates that " with its more than 3 kilometers long, the runway could accommodate large aircraft, even if this is no longer its vocation. " .