Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Province of Chieti, renewable energy in Province of Chieti.
The Province of Chieti is one province of four provinces in the Abruzzo region of Italy (Figure 1). Its capital is the city of Chieti. This province has an area of around 2,586 km2 and a total population of 381,993 (2001). There are 104 communes in the province. More than half of the 104 municipalities have less than 4,000 inhabitants. Almost 80% of the inhabitants live in the Adriatic coastal strip. Its territory is predominantly rural, mainly consists of hills and mountains (Figure 2).
Chieti Province has a natural park (Maiella). This province emphasizes on green tourism to continue its development. In the Italian constitutional system, the province do not have any legislative prerogatives. An intermediate level between the state, the region, and the municipality. They play a coordinating role, and their executive competencies are limited to the implementation of national and regional policies. The provincial authorities are elected by universal suffrage: a president and 30 councilors (in the case of Chieti).
Renewable Energy Development
To increase the share of renewable energies in the total energy production of the province from 22% to 38% by 2010, including 29.3% for hydroelectricity, 7.7% for wind power, 0.8% for biomass, 0.2% for solar thermal and 0.1% for photovoltaic.
In the year 2000, the province of Chieti took an initiative to participate in a European Campaign “Take Off”. The province equipped themselves with a development plan for renewable sources. The aim of the plan is to increase the usage of renewable energy from 24.4% in the year 2000 to 37.3% in the year 2010. To carry out this development, the province created A.L.E.S.A. (the local agency for energy) in the year 2001.
The energy agency has been created in the year 2001. There are some renewable energy plants have been operated and produces electricity:
- Hydroelectric plants in the mountainous terrain produce 406.1 MW electricity.
- Solar radiation varies from around 5 MJ/m2 in December to 24 MJ/m2 in July or August.
- Wind Farm: 3 of 320 KWh generators, 1 of 225 KWh generator, and 1 of 110 KWh generator.
- The use of olive oil pressings as a substitute for diesel-oil has been taken up to some extent. There is extensive oil cultivation in the area.
A.L.E.S.A. – Local Agency for Energy of the Province of Chieti
A.L.E.S.A. was born in September 2001. The agency was co-financed under the 2000 SAVE Program together with AGEDE – Local Agency for Energy of the Municipality of Ecija, Spain. This local agency promotes renewable energy sources (RES) and rational use of energy (RUE) in the province. The agency also operates at European level, taking apart in EU community projects and makes partnership with many organizations. This agency has been very active in the local and national level, planning several research projects. A.L.E.S.A has taken part in more than 10 EU level events, 10 national events, and 30 regional events. Another important activity is the dissemination of RES and RUE through the organization of conferences, seminars, meetings, and workshops. The diffusion at various levels of news, good practices, possibilities of public and private co-funding for RES and RUE is one of the most important aims of the Agency. In the field of education developing common actions, the agency works with the universities, training institutes, and high schools. Following will be explored some projects handled by A.L.E.S.A.
Biomass District Heating
Energy and Environment Sector of the Province of Chieti, with the technical-scientific direction of the Agency for Energy A.L.E.S.A. was carrying out the IPRE Project (Integrated Plan for Renewable Energy) – ALTENER Community Programme. It regarded viability study of some projects for renewable energy sources take off. One of them aimed at building in Treglio a biomass district heating plant in the Province Chieti. The goal was to study and understand the main factors that could make this environmental protection project economically feasible.
PV Campaign within the Program “Photovoltaic Roofs 2003”
On occasion of the presentation of the subprogram of the Abruzzo Region “Photovoltaic Roofs 2003” (07-02-2003), the Agency devised a Campaign for the promotion and the diffusion of PV in the Province of Chieti (104 Municipalities). The Campaign (Figure 3) was held for 1 year long. It was addressed to public administrators, technicians, citizens and students. The Agency became an energy window, with results as the PV plants installation (Figure 4) and the spreading of an energetic environmental awareness.
RES for Student
RES for students project started in September 2003 and stopped in April 2004. This project dealt with a training and an information campaign about renewable sources and energy savings devoted to more than 3,500 students who attended the fourth year in the high schools based in the Province of Chieti. The project was very successful and the students were very glad to participate. The result was very useful for the agency to reveal the level of the students’ knowledge about RES and RUE scope.
Virtual Mobility Agency
It was one of the MOVE Projects. In this project, the agency acts as a local platform where mobility services are initiated, organized, and provided. It will support:
- the development of new projects fostering new and innovative approaches in the transport field;
- the local authorities in the actions that they are carrying out about sustainable mobility.
- CO2 Balance: A.L.E.S.A. updated the Carbon Dioxide Balance of the Province of Chieti focusing the attention on the transport sector. One of the analysis made was the analysis of emissions from energy consumption during 1996-2005. During those period, energy consumption had risen by about 19% (Table 1), the consumption of electricity and oil products had risen by about 34% (Table 2), and amount of carbon dioxide due to total energy consumption in the year 2005 was 3726506 ton (Table 3).
- A seminar about the production of biodiesel (22nd June 2007)
- Informative campaign (October 2006 to May 2007): a series of meetings in the upper-schools of the Province of Chieti to explain to the students the concept of the sustainable mobility and the alternative means of transport
Without Car School Day
It was also one of the MOVE Projects. A.L.E.S.A. was aimed to organize a free car day in an upper school of the province of Chieti in which the students and their teachers would be invited to use alternative means of transport encouraging changes of behavior toward conscious choice of sustainable transport modes. The local project run between January 2007 and April 2008.
Renewable Energy in the Province of Chieti
In Italy, the political authority and the regions are responsible of the implementation of the energy policy at local level because energy planning do not occur at provincial level. From the energy point of view, Abruzzo is not covered by an energy plan, so the province of Chieti has taken the lead by designing its own strategy.
In the year 2000, five largest public transport companies received an invitation from the provincial authorities. The authorities wanted to inform them about the advantages of biodiesel (for their bus fleets) and made an experiment. The experiment was to compare the consumption and behavior of two buses running on a mixture containing 25% biodiesel and on conventional diesel 100%. In June 2000, Fox Petroli agreed to participate in the experiment. Since then, two buses with a mixture of 25% biodiesel were compared to two buses with 100% diesel.
It is one of two main producers of biodiesel in Italy. Its factory in Vasto (in the south of the province) has produced 55,000 metric tons of biodiesel since 1996 from rapeseed oil (Figure 5). The biodiesel is produced for major private or official buyers which have their own storage tank. A unit with a capacity of 100,000 metric tons will enter the service in the year 2003.
The experiment was executed in the conditions:
- there was no legal obligation to use biofuels in Italy (at least not yet). There was plan to limit on pollutant emissions from vehicle, but still some way to go.
- For a start, there was no distribution circuit for biodiesel at the pump in Italy.
- The fuel is marginal: the country consumes 20 million metric tons of diesel fuel per year, compared with 125 000 metric tons of biodiesel fuel, 160 times less.
- In Italy, biodiesel do not all have the same refining quality, so it is risky to use them pure, as they do in Germany, for example, where there are engines certified for such use.
- The industrial cost of biodiesel in Italy is double that of diesel fuel, but taxes were not applied to biodiesel.
Due to taxes were not applied to biodiesel, it reduced the difference of cost significantly. Even there remained an additional cost of 100 lira/liter, this cost had been absorbed by Fox Petroli throughout the duration of experiment. The company had also installed biodiesel storage tanks. Biodiesel was sold at the same price as diesel fuel (Figure 6). The carriers had set up a working group for joint coordination of the experiment. The provincial government was paying for them, in the purposes the emissions of their buses were measured by the Mario Negri Sul Institute. This institute is located in the Val di Sangro, the main industrial area of the province. The results were expected at the beginning of 2002.
the quasi totality of the transporters in the province
The site is located in the near the small town of Cupello, at the southern tip of the province. It would accommodate a renewable energy resource centre. The biological house was intended to be a showcase for ecological construction (Figure 7). The building would generate heating, air conditioner, and electricity energy saving of about 40%.
Photovoltaic Power Plant
Twenty meters away from the ecological house, downhill from the site, a photovoltaic power plant distributed its panels (Figure 8). The Elio 1 plant has an installed power of 1 MW and an output of 1.3 million KWh/year.
A total of 190 turbines of 0.6 MW unit power is located in the windy are of Mount Maiella, above the ridges of Schiavi d’Abruzzo, Fraine, Roccaspinalveti, Castiglione Messer Marino, Rioi del Dandro, Montazzolin, and Monteferrante Municipalities (Figure 9).
The installation was designed to minimize the impact on their surroundings. The opposing voice (the criticism of a few environmentalist association) argued that they dominate the landscape excessively. It was said that the financial largess was massive compared with the budgets managed by villages around. The municipality of Castiglione Messer Marino would receive 200,000 euros per year. Nearly 80 workers from the area were employed on the site, and two inhabitants of each village had been trained as electrical technicians so that they can supervise the management and maintenance of the wind turbines on site.
Electricity from Olive Cake
Italy, the world’s second-ranking country for olive production behind Spain, the oil mills dispose of up to 800 000 metric tons of olive crushing waste, the “olive cake”. The Vecere family with their family business “Sancifici Vecere” has been processing olive cake for 55 years. The Vecere business processes 20,000 metric tons of exhausted olive cake annually. This biomass has generated a small recycling industry. After processing this waste, Vecere produces fuel in various forms. “Exhausted olive cake” is very stable and can be stored: as chips with other biomass waste (almond shells, sawmill waste, grape pips, etc.), as briquettes, etc., mainly for burning in small private boilers. The pulp, which can be separated from the stones, also can be used as agricultural fertilizer.
Biomass on Gas’s Territory
Polycom energia is another company producing fuel from biomass. Encouraged by Chieti province, the company has partnered with a manufacturer of “all-biomass” boilers, D’Alessandro termomecanica, which offers the installation of boilers in private dwellings, hotels, etc., to burn its biomass. The installed power was 3 MW-thermal. The boilers remain the property of Polycom energia, with its partner guarantees efficiencies of 80% to its customers. At that moment only 0.5% of the boilers run on renewable energies, mainly biomass or solar power. Heating systems are subject to particular attention. In Chieti province but also in general in Italy, 90% of such systems burned natural gas. And 95% of them were individual appliances, even in apartment blocks. This multiplied not only the number of sources of risk but also the sources of excess consumption and pollution. An Italian act of 1991 obliged all owners of boilers to have them serviced regularly. This self-check is combined with an independent inspection focusing on appliance safety, fume emissions and consumption carried out on behalf of the public authorities.
For these European projects they have brought many businessmen on board. Usually they ask for subsidies from the public authorities, now they are the ones coming to offer us their financial support. They have seen that the projects were successful, and a spiral of trust has been established. Many neighboring provinces came to visit Chieti to understand the motivating forces behind the dynamism that’s driving this laboratory. An “inventor” came to ask for the province’s backing for his stroke of inspiration: a machine that produces more energy than it consumes.
This process began after one of many projects of renewable energy had been started over the last two years (2000 – 2002) by Chieti Province. The president of the province (elected in the year 1999, Mauri Febbo) said “Here we haven’t seen snow on the mountain tops for three years, and it hasn’t rained for 200 days. We feel a particular awareness of climatic problems. So, when the new team in power (a centre-right coalition) launched the ambitious programme of environmental protection and promotion of renewable energies that it had promised, there was a united front on the benches of the small provincial chamber. The environment has become a consensus-forming topic. We all agree, whatever our political party, we cannot continue to count on oil. We wanted to demonstrate that it was possible to identify alternatives.” An act in 1998 assigned the province a specific role in the promotion of renewable energies. Chieti intended to halt the growth in the total energy consumption of the province by 2008.
The Full Range of European Aids
All-out hyperactivity makes some worry about overheating. The originality lies above all in their working method. They had sought to use local competencies and investors, gave priority to dialogue. For each project they had tried to include as many persons and institutions as possible. After drawing up an inventory and carrying out a study of the potential of renewable energies (both the sources and the human resources) the province had played the Europe card to the hilt. It has obtained funding for several programmes , through a “Europe Info Point”. In less than two years they had systematically explored the full range of European programmes likely to be involved in the energy field.
104 Partner Municipalities
This has led to the establishment of the Chieti provincial energy agency, an “ecological house”, and the Europe Info Point. Courses has been provided, particularly for young people, and surveys and awareness-raising actions has been conducted with the population. Chieti had also conducted a series of legislative lobbying actions. The high point of this partnership policy was the spectacular mobilization undertaken by the province in order to become a “partner” of the European Commission. Along with many companies and professional associations, all 104 municipalities of the province, all political groups united, had signed up. Antonio di Nunzio (chairman of Chieti province environment commission and chairman of the Chieti provincial energy agency) said “A political commitment of this sort is very unusual. And it has to be admitted that most of us, both elected representatives and employees, aren’t counting all the hours that we put in. But the province is, after all, only playing its role.”
Parties involved in the development of renewable energy in the Province of Chieti are:
- All the 104 Municipalities of the Province of Chieti;
- Consortiums: Consorzio Industriale Sangro Aventino- Casoli; Consorzio Industriale Valle del Pescara- S. Giovanni Teatino; Consorzio per l’Area di Sviluppo Industriale del Vastese (Coasiv)- Vasto; Consorzio Comprensoriale RSU del Lancianese- Lanciano; Consorzio Comprensoriale del Chietino per lo Smaltimento Rifiuti- Fara F. Petri
- Mountain Communities: Zona “P” Della Maielletta- Pennapiedimonte; Zona “R” Medio Sangro- Quadri; Zona “T” Medio Vastese- Gissi; Zona “Q” Aventino Medio Sangro- Palena; Zona “S” Val Sangro- Villa S. Maria; Zona “U” Alto Vastese- Torrebruna
- Territorial Agreements: Trigno Sinello- Vasto; Sangro Aventino- S. Maria Imbaro; Chietino Ortonese- Chieti
- Regione Abruzzo- Corpo Forestale Dello Stato
- Universita’ Degli Studi G. D’Annunzio
- Associations: Assoenergia- Roma; Copagri; Unione Provinciale Agricoltori; Confederaz. Naz. Le dell’Artigianato; Amab Abruzzo; Associazione Piccole Industrie; Associazione Ind. Le Prov. Di Chieti
- Private sector companies: Edison Energie speciali – Bologna; Arpa Spa- Chieti; La Panoramica- Chieti; Di Fonzo- Vasto; Napoleone- Ortona; Gestione Governativa Sangritana- Lanciano; SAP; Amga Energia; Fontecal; D’Alessandro Termotecnica
- Local banks: Banca Popolare Lanciano; Sulmona