France Is Using The Dead To Produce Clean Energy

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Look, we get it: the very idea of a European nation using the dead as a source of energy sounds like one of the weirder plots of Doctor Who. No need to change that channel, though: the residents of the French town Saint-Joachim are mostly happy with their new energy source, you don’t even need your own Sonic Screwdriver to appreciate what they have started doing. This town has installed solar energy panels in the local cemetery, providing a source of clean energy that local residents can take advantage of.

A New Graveyard With Lots Of Problems

Interestingly, this clean energy initiative began less as a way of saving the planet and more as a way of saving plenty of time and frustration for locals. The town’s original cemetery (a simple church cemetery) grew too crowded back in 1970, and this prompted the residents of Saint-Joachim to build a new graveyard on the eastern side of the main island. That was a good idea except for one pesky little detail: the elevation.

The original cemetery had been built six meters above sea level, but the new graveyard was actually built directly on sea level. In the winter, this area floods, which often causes emotional distress for those whose loved ones are buried there. The logical solution would be to drain the ground, but because this is a wetland area, such an endeavor would be like a nonstop episode of Man vs. Wild (and not one of the good eps, either). 

The Solution: Solar Panels

All of that backstory leads to the town’s surprising decision to add a new energy source. The mayor of Saint-Joachim proposed a multi-part solution to the graveyard problem that began with covering the area that often floods and reusing water that had been gathered to help for the nasty summer draughts. Finally, he proposed adding solar panels as a way of transforming this otherwise frustrating area of land into a constant source of clean, cheap energy.

An Eco-Friendly Town

The town was very supportive of the mayor’s new energy idea, possibly because they are old hands when it comes to using environmentally friendly technology. Back in 2012, the town installed photovoltaic panels on municipal roofs, but the solar panel project that the major proposed in 2021 was going to be more complex. Specifically, it was going to make history for the entire country.

Cost Efficient

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Once everything is completed, this will be the first energy project designed for more than 1,000 people to share without payment. A sophisticated algorithm will get readings from both the residents’ homes and the solar panels and help a grid operator determine how much each resident’s energy bill will be reduced. Everyone will get the same amount of energy for a one-time entry fee of €5, and these solar panels should be able to provide 20 percent of the town’s energy needs.

The Doctor Would Be Impressed

Now that we have a little more context for this idea of converting a French town’s dead into energy, we’re more confident than ever that this isn’t a dystopian plot out of Doctor Who. Now that David Tennant has returned to the franchise and the door is open for his return, there’s even a chance he’ll comment on this project onscreen.

What would Tennant’s Doctor say about a clean energy project that breathes new life into an old town? Probably just one iconic word: “allons-y!”

Source: Euronews

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