The Grand Tour of Renewable Italy

Published on Monday, 16 April 2018

“The 2018 Green Train, the 30th edition of the traveling campaign started by Legambiente, with the participation of Enel Green Power, travelled up Italy, from Syracuse to Trent, to promote a more sustainable energy model.”

The stops in the 12 cities chosen for the Train’s journey this year provided a chance to tell citizens and companies about the positive examples, opportunities, challenges and risks that characterise daily life in this country. The event showed the way forward to 2030, when we’ll see if the choices made now are effective or not.

The Country of Renewable Towns

Onto the coaches of the Green Train came young and old, entire schools and curious visitors. They were urged to discover for themselves the foundations for an era of distributed and clean generation, with renewables, smart grids, efficiency and sustainable mobility, which Italy already has significant experience in.

The Green Train’s journey was also a chance to get to know the champions of clean sources in Italy, the Renewable Towns surveyed by Legambiente, which rely on sun and wind above all to meet their energy needs.

“The Renewable Towns report for 2018, carried out in collaboration with EGP and now in its 12th edition, tells of an Italy that is more and more directed toward clean sources, which now cover more than 32% of national energy needs.”

Renewable sources have revolutionised our country’s energy system. Already in 2015, 100% of Italian municipalities had at least one renewable plant. In just over ten years, production from clean energy went from 51.9 to 103.5 terawatt hours (TWh), with an increase in production of 99% and a spread over the entire Italian territory, with over a million plants of all sizes.

History and Innovation

The Green Train helped people get to know an Italy that has chosen renewables. Along its way, it stopped in regions where Enel Green Power is present with some of its most significant and innovative plants.

The 12 cities visited by the Green Train all have a close link with our plants using various technologies for renewable sources, from solar to hydropower, from wind to geothermal.

In Sicily, EGP is present with some renewable plants that are now historic and others that are futuristic. Near Syracuse, where the Train’s journey began, we find the historical Cassibile hydropower plant, built in 1908, which is one of the first solar thermodynamic plants in Europe, in Priolo Gargallo. Going up the railway towards the strait of Messina, the Green Train also passed by a plant that integrates photovoltaic and storage in Catania,  the 3SUN factory where our latest generation bifacial photovoltaic panels are born and Enel Green Power's Innovation Lab, where new technologies are tested.

Covering lots of kilometres, the Green Train made it to Grosseto and visited one of the most important Italian provinces for geothermal energy production. In Tuscany, thanks especially to Enel Green Power’s 35 plants, it can meet more than 30% of the region’s energy needs.

Further north, for the stops in Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto and Trentino, Legambiente’s convoy passed through Italian territories where hydropower is the most established and common renewable source and where most of our operational plants powered by water in Italy are located.

“In Italy, Enel Green Power manages 190 large dams, for an overall volume of water equal to over 2,300 mm3. Each year, this guarantees the irrigation of about 700,000 hectares of land – equal to the surface area of Molise and Val d’Aosta. It helps with the drinking water equivalent of about 750,000 people and the artificial snow for 240 hectares of ski slopes.”

Clean Energy that Safeguards the Environment

The initiative sponsored by Legambiente, with the support of Enel Green Power, was also a chance to call the attention of local communities and public opinion to the theme of environmental protection.

The Italian territories’ commitment to a sustainable development model does not stop with the use of renewable sources to produce clean energy. The protection of nature and biodiversity includes the reduction of pollution, which involves cities and towns as well as rivers and seas, woods and parks.

On its journey through the Italian regions, the Green Train revealed the silent contribution that hydropower plants provide for the protection of rivers and water flows.

 

“In Italy, EGP clears out an average of over 9,000 tonnes of waste - about 3,000 from the Po alone – collected from the grids of its hydropower plants, allocating about 8,000 tonnes to recycling centres.”

Protecting the territory, safeguarding ecosystems and biodiversity are key elements to sustainable development, which we promote with initiatives together with the local communities where we work and with clean energy produced by our plants: two sides of the same coin that find their most complete and effective expression in our model of creating shared value.