Local citizen-owned energy communities in France

“Centrales Villageoises” are local companies whose shareholders are mainly citizens, local municipalities and local companies.

Local citizen-owned energy communities in France

“Centrales Villageoises” contribute to energy objectives by taking into account cross-cutting territorial issues such as local economic development, landscape integration, social links, etc.

The Centrales Villageoises operate as a network within an Association. They share a common model based on a four-point Charter: 1) Territorial approach, 2) Shared citizen governance, 3) Local economic benefits, 4) The quality approach. This model is now implemented in several French regions.


The “Centrales Villageoises” concept was born in 2010 and originates from a project supported by European and regional funds. The launching agents were AURA-EE and 5 natural regional parks. From 2010 to 2014, the experimentation was piloted on 8 pilot sites and progressively led to the elaboration of local citizen-owned companies which developed and financed some first photovoltaic plants. The entire technical and legal framework was then consolidated and enabled the concept to be replicated on other sites. The model of “Centrales Villageoises” quickly spread all over the AURA region as well as in other regions.

In 2018 a national association was created to continue developing the network.


  • Raise awareness of the specific approach of the Centrales Villageoises and in particular its integrated territorial approach, its citizen governance and its bottom-up operation.
  • Continue the pooling of resources (development of shared tools and services) for the benefit of local companies, and continue to capitalise on the experience, in particular through solidarity between Village Centres.
  • Reinforce the professionalisation of projects, by maintaining a high-quality standard in their implementation and also by aiming to create local jobs.
  • Pursue innovative experiments, the development of new legal and financial models, the diversification of renewable energy and energy management projects.

Centrales Villageoises in numbers

In 2021, the “Centrales Villageoises” achieved the following figures: