The project to redevelop the Yvon Morandat mine in Gardanne "from brownfield site to technological and social innovation hub" was awarded the EPL 2017 Trophy in the "smart cities for tomorrow" category, on 11 October 2017 in Bordeaux.
30 October 2017

The City of Gardanne undertook this project to redevelop the abandoned Yvon Morandat mine site under its policy to enhance its heritage from the past with a view to the future. This 14-hectare brownfield site is being redeveloped by the SEMAG (semi-public planning company for Gardanne and its surroundings) to create an economic, cultural and energy hub that aims to become France's first activity cluster earning the Mediterranean Eco-District and Sustainable Neighbourhood label, as an "ecosystem" for innovation and  scientific culture committed to a social and solidarity-based economy.   

The BRGM and ADEME, two major partners in this project, were actively involved in developing the network for producing geothermal energy from minewater, to be deployed within the cluster in the first half of 2018.

Developing an innovative energy production plant

The BRGM conducted a pre-feasibility study to assess opportunities for using rising minewater as a natural and renewable source of geothermal energy. Minewater can be extracted from one of Europe's deepest mine-shafts, the 1100 metre "Y" shaft at the abandoned Yvon Morandat mine. The study first examined opportunities across the entire Gardanne district, before identifying scenarios to match the configuration and requirements of the Yvon Morandat hub. The aim is to meet heating and cooling needs for the future hub via an innovative facility for renewable and recoverable energy (ENR&R) created by converting the infrastructure previously used for fossil fuel extraction. The BRGM also assisted the SEMAG for the selection of an energy company that would become a stakeholder in the SEMAG subsidiary SAS Énergie Solidaire, which was established to become the owner-operator of the energy network.

The result will be an innovative and agile energy network based on smart-grid technology with exchanges between buildings on the block-chain principle and power production for own consumption via hybrid solar and battery storage technologies.

A "smart city" for tomorrow

After short-listing 12 candidates from over thirty submissions from France as a whole, the jury for the EPL (Local Public Enterprises) Trophies, chaired by Laurent GIROUETTE, Director for housing, urban planning and landscapes working under the ministries for the ecological and solidarity-based transition and for territorial cohesion, selected the city of Gardanne and the SEMAG for their project to redevelop the Yvon Morandat mine "from brownfield site to technological and social innovation hub".   

On 11 October 207, during the EPL Congress held in Bordeaux, France, and in the presence of Sébastien LECORNU, Secretary of State for the Ecological Solidarity-Based Transition, the redevelopment project for the Morandat mine promoted by the City of Gardanne and the SEMAG was awarded the "Smart Cities for Tomorrow" prize.