International Study of RE-Regions: Regione of Abruzzo, Italy

Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Regione of Abruzzo, renewable energy in Regione of Abruzzo.

Until a few decades ago, Abruzzo was a region of poverty in Southern Italy; however, it has developed to become the ‘first’ region of the ‘Italian Mezzogiorno’. The structure of production in the region reflects the transformation of the economy from agriculture to industry and services. There are major institutes and factories involved in research in the fields of pharmaceutics, biomedicine, electronics, aerospace and nuclear physics. Seaside and mountain tourism as a part of the service sector is of considerable importance to the economy of the region

. In the past decade, tourism has increased, mostly among Italians and other Europeans.

Background of Renewable Energy Development

Abruzzo Region considers, based on facts in national and international news, energy as a fundamental issue that must be tackled seriously.

The region of Abruzzo identified energy efficiency and renewable energies as the key to reduce GHG emissions. The regional energy plan on RES (2001) aims to use hydrogen produced from renewable sources. Due to that reason, a strategy on “New Energies” tend to introduce hydrogen as an energy carrier.

In addition, fuels has an important role in the region energy structure, the promotion of biofuels will be one of the region priorities.

Objective

The objective of renewable energy development in Abruzzo Region is to fill negative gap between production and consumption within the national territory.

The Regional Energy Plan (REP) 2010 has the objective:

  • the production of energy from renewable energy sources by 31% by 2010[6]
  • the reduction of energy consumption by 30% by 2010[7]

Aims

In the future new energy strategy,

envisions a distributed production of energy by small and medium “hydrogen systems” from renewable sources has the following aims:[5]

  • to foster agreements between stakeholders for the development of new hydrogen technologies;
  • to capitalize on the interests in public institutions and private entrepreneurs;
  • to participate in the results deriving from the activities, to strengthen social and economical interests;
  • continuous support in every aspect of projects to facilitate and promote the use of common rules and regulations.

Targets

Mid- and Long-term Targets

The mid- and long-term target of hydrogen development as an energy carrier in the region are:

  • The mid-term: to install stationary H2FC applications (e.g. large fuel cell plants in industrial areas, small and medium sized CHPs for social housing) and the build-up of a H2 infrastructure (production, refuelling and distribution/pipelines).
  • The long-term: to address the transport sector as part of integrated energy production from renewable sources and the better economies of scale for the H2FC technology industry.

Planning

The planning of hydrogen development in the region are divided into three time frames:

  • short-term: FCs as EPUs and APUs, implementation of a multi-fuel refuelling station (ENI Agip), hydrogen production from biomass.
  • mid-term: installation of large FC plants in industrial areas, implementation of hydrogen infrastructure (production, storage, pipelines), medium size CHPs for social housing.
  • long-term: H2 procurement systems for stationary applications, completion of an integrated energy production from renewable sources as hydrogen, creation of a scale economy for SMEs and large industry that deal with hydrogen technologies.

The planned projects and activities related to hydrogen for transport are:

  • Implementation of vehicles supplied by methane/hydrogen mixtures up to rates of 30% of hydrogen.
  • Implementation H2 procurement systems for both mobility and stationary use (long-term).

The planned projects and activities for vehicle are:

  • Vehicle fleets (Fiat Panda ICE).
  • Hydrogen procurement systems for mobile applications (long-term).

ARAEN – Agenzia Regionale per l’Energia della Regione Abruzzo

ARAEN has been created through the European SAVE II project with approval granted by the European Commission. It is non profit and apart from supporting Regional policies, its objectives are to:

  • increase energy need management through the promotion of energy efficiency;
  • support a better and more rational use of local and renewable energy sources;
  • optimize production costs;
  • support the research for exploiting the energy needs in the region;
  • manage the regional functions in the field of energy.

ARAEN concentrates in energy saving, renewable energy sources, conventional sources of energy, support to the energies of the future, and support network. The achievements are:

  • Issued nr.2 calls for public funding related to RES: PV and solar thermal.
  • Agreement with EDENS for the creation of a wind power centre for energy technologies (CETE).
  • Participation to the works of the Italian Hydrogen task force.
  • Coordination of national actions related to the use of natural gas and LPG within those municipalities at risk of pollution.
  • Agreement for the use of renewable energies within ATER (social housing).
  • Regulation for the installation of wind power plants in the Abruzzo Region.
  • Agreement with the Ministry of Environment for the use and valorisation of biomass.
  • Preparation and submission to the EU Commission of the highvalley project (FP6 Concerto) within the Highville initiative of Norsk Hydro.

Dissemination and Awareness for Sustainable Energy Development

The whole population is benefiting from the dissemination and awareness campaign for sustainable energy development through:

  • Competition among the schools in the region financed by the region.
  • Regione Abruzzo and the Italian Ministry of Environment signed an agreement to enhance agro-forest and residual biomass in the region.
  • Actively adhering to the constitution of the Task Force Hydrogen Italy (H2IT) for the development, promotion and dissemination of hydrogen technologies.
  • Establishing a network of eco-friendly gasoline stations with multi-fuel pumps (including conventional fuels, methane, GPL, hydrogen and methane blends and hydrogen).

EU Projects

The region is participating in some European co-financed projects:

  • Enerwood: project on renewable energy and forest management.
  • Regenergy: a partnership of 18 regions from 11 European countries about heat energy provision on a local level.
  • Enersun: development and shared experimentation of energy production and storage from solar power plants
  • Probio: integration between production and consumption in the biodiesel supply chain in five participating European areas.
  • Biogas Regions: project fosters the biogas development, specifically building biogas plants, in seven European regions.

Renewable Energy in Regione of Abruzzo

The Energy Department of Regione Abruzzo has been committed to dynamic energy development, dissemination and training (nationally and within Europe). This has been governed by the Regional Energy Plan (REP). The Plan dictates strategic energy actions, harmonizes them with the local context and creates a reference framework for public and private stakeholders involved in energy matters. The correct construction of renewable energy plants in the region are governed and supported by:

  • Guidelines for wind energy plants in the regional territory;
  • Guidelines for photovoltaic energy plants in the regional territory; and,
  • Study to support the regional planning for water resources.

Biofuels

The main actions in the local strategies are holding training courses for farmers, conducting studies on energy crops, signing commercial agreements and carrying out promotional activities (exhibitions, informational material, promotional campaigns, etc.).

Hydrogen for Transport

The ongoing project for filling station is H2 production plant in Rivoira (self production for chemical industry, Degussa). The ongoing and finished projects and activities related to hydrogen for transport are:

  • Renewable hydrogen installation with solar panels and 5 kW fuel cell for electric power (COGESTRE)
  • R&D and experimental tests on H2 infrastructure (HigHVILLE project, 2004)
  • H2 production (EasyHy project, Enerwood project, mainly from biomass and solar)
  • Storage (e.g. in porous matrix) and conversion
]

Wind Energy

In 1992, the first Italian Wind Farm was installed in Tocco da Casauria (Pescara). Two aerogenerators has each of them 200 MW. In 2006, the wind farm were renewed with 2 new aerogenerators, the Enercon’s E48. Today the farm produces 4,000,000 kW/h which results Tocco da Casauria is fully supplied by renewable energies.

Totally, the installed capacity of wind farms in the Region of Abruzzo is around 160 MW.

Guidelines for the installation of wind power plants has been created by ARAEN.

In 2009, there was claim from environmental organizations that wind farm buildings continues unchecked. The raised alarm was especially in the area around mountains where wind farms threaten to result in the disappearance of the Golden Eagle and the Griffon Vulture in very short time.

Wind farm in the Region of Abruzzo can be viewed in Figure 3 and 4.

Energy Saving in Building

A project for renovating old buildings is a part of the “Abruzzo Green Region of Europe” scheme. The retrofit project involves 54 apartments in two buildings, which are typical for old (built in 1970’s) social buildings in small towns of the region and represents in many ways a characteristic example of straightforward use of low energy technologies. Totally 28,000 apartments in the mountain area of the Abruzzo Region were renewed. The project is a combination of both renewable energy utilization and traditional maintenance interventions in order to obtain energy savings with low costs.