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The past and future in Acquoria: the waters that illuminated the Eternal City are now shaping the future of energy

5 min.

The past and future in Acquoria: the waters that illuminated the Eternal City are now shaping the future of energy

The historic power station that illuminated Rome until the end of the 1800s is becoming interactive: a multimedia exploration of energy.

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Water is a source of life, electricity, culture and fun. On July 4, 1892, the waters of the Acquoria hydroelectric power station were transformed into light for Rome. Until that historic day when alternating cuurents were finally able to travel a full 26 km to Tivoli – the central power station - then to Rome’s Porta Pia station, it had only been possible to transmit them a few hundred meters.

Lighting up the Eternal City constituted a crucial step in the progress of Italy’s electrification. Enel Green Power’s itinerant Interactive Power Stations project tells this story and conveys all the potential of renewable energies in an innovative, engaging way.


The interactive design makes energy tangible

Acquoria has been reborn thanks to this permanent interactive exhibit, inaugurated inside the historic power station on Friday, December 6th. The aim of opening this place, rich in history and charm, to the public is to bring energy to life through exciting, intuitive multimedia.

The interactive design, curated by our partner Dotdotdot, allows us to make tangible an intangible like energy, and to explain to even the youngest visitor complex topics like energy production and its connection with global geography. The Interactive Power Station was, in fact, designed to fascinate visitors of all ages and make them aware of the important role that renewables are playing in the energy transition.

The strong contrast of the rooms of the power station itself with the multimedia panels and installations engages and impacts visitors from the moment they step inside. A visual personification of the energy that lives inside each and every one of us is detected by a video camera and transformed into Watts on a huge screen.

In addition to human guides, there are digital alter-egos of various types of energy, each with its own particular voice and personality: Hydro for hydroelectric, Gaia for geothermal, Mariasole for solar, Levante for wind and Marina for marine energy. Thanks to a powerful voice recognition system, the digital alter-egos can chat with guests and answer their questions.

Learn, interact, have fun

This fun, interactive exhibit teaches and inspires. At the end of the Acquoria visit, guests can prove that they’ve become “Ministers of Energy”, just as they can at the Trezzo sull’Adda exhibit. They can immediately put everything they’ve learned into practice by playing a video game that challenges players to choose the best solutions to meet a community’s various energy needs.

Located on the left bank of the Aniene River, the Acquoria power station derives its name from the nearby natural spring. There were two modest plants on the site before the current power station was built. The first dates back to 1884, created to generate Tivoli’s public lighting. The second was inaugurated in 1892. The new power station was built in 1902 at the mouth of the Valle dell’Inferno. It was expanded in 1929 and currently produces 154 GWh with two groups installed on the San Giovanni shunt and 2.9 GWh from one group installed on the Vescovali shunt, for a total of 157 GWh.

Acquoria can generate enough energy to meet the annual needs of 50,000 families, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by over 100,000 tons per year. Now, it can also teach us that in addition to bestowing life and electricity, water can provide knowledge.

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