Over the last few weeks, it has become increasingly important to discuss, argue and act regarding a subject that is heard too little compared to the importance it deserves, since Italy is one of the leading countries in Europe in the use of renewable sources: the ecological transition.
So, what is the ecological transition?
And how do Energy Communities fit into this context?
The questions are many, as are the doubts, so let’s try to solve some of them.
ECOLOGICAL AND ENERGY TRANSITION: THE TWO NEW PARADIGMS
This is what the word itself states: TRANSITION, a shift from a phase of stagnation to a new and different balance, from a position of disadvantage to one of favor and convenience. Well, the ecological transition is just that, the transition from a situation not very green oriented, not very concerned with consumption and waste, to one of concern and care for these aspects that impact our lifestyle and the environment in which we live, without trauma or inconvenience.
Energy Communities and Ecological Transition
Nowadays, under these conditions, it is unthinkable to separate the ecological transition from the energy one, especially considering how much the energy production itself derives for its great majority from non-renewable energy sources and/or located abroad. This mechanism on one hand leads to waste economic resources for the purchase and sale of “foreign” energy and on the other hand reinforces the great opportunity to take advantage of a source that instead we have available for free and in abundance: the sun. Not by chance, due to the high solar radiation of its territory and the presence of a highly technological industrial fabric, the Italian photovoltaic industry is highly developed and could be the leader of the Italian energy transition. Also thanks to the advent of new forces of green circular economy, the energy communities interface well and are complementary to this existing situation.
In fact, Italy now is passing through the optimization of the energy produced and consumed: it already started with the transition of power generation from large concentrated to small distributed and it is based on the production from photovoltaic systems. Here, the REAL TURNING POINT of the ecological transition would fully realize with the combination of energy community-photovoltaic systems and distributed storage. This is a virtuous example of circular economy where waste is reused. In this specific case, a continuous value is given to the energy produced, recycled, and shared within the community: this mechanism allows everyone to avoid waste and excess energy, which are instead redistributed.
THE STUDY OF ELEMENS FOR LEGAMBIENTE
According to the study drafted for Legambiente by Elemens “The contribution of Energy Communities to Decarbonisation in Italy: current and future models, estimates of potential and benefit pills“, in a scenario of full implementation of the RED II directive, energy communities would bring a great benefit to the Italian economy because they would create:
- 13,4 billion € of investments in new renewable capacity
- 2,2 billion € of positive economic impact on Italian companies active along the supply chain of renewables arising from plant construction, O&M and management of energy communities
- billion € net of IRES/IRAP tax deductions for companies active in plant construction and maintenance
- 000 direct employees on photovoltaic plants, not counting those involved in energy communities (efficiency and electric vehicles)
- 47,1 tons of CO2 emissions avoided by 2030
THE 4 GUIDES FOR THE ITALIAN RESTART
Talking about ecological transition, it is necessary to mention the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (PNRR), perhaps better known by the tag Next Generation Fund: this represents the basis for the investment plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 and promote economic recovery post-COVID.
The Italian investment plan focuses on ecological transition as an inseparable asset and an inevitable prospect: it reserves to the transition € 74.3 billion of interventions, i.e., 37.9% of the Italian PNRR, which will be divided according to four main guidelines:
- Green enterprise and circular economy: €6,3 billion
- Energy transition and sustainable local mobility: €18,5 billion
- Energy efficiency and requalification of buildings: €40,1 billion
- Protection and enhancement of the territory and water resources: 9,4 billion €.
Energy communities will increasingly become an important link between the four major guidelines that will form the basis for the restart of Italy. They will allow on one hand the requalification of buildings and the protection and enhancement of the territory and, on the other hand, will give a fundamental help for sustainable local mobility. In short, they will be fundamental pillars of the energy transition.
Combining Ecological Transition and Renewable Energy Communities is a must for Italy for at least 3 main reasons:
- Do it soon and well. Italy is facing an extremely critical economic, social, and environmental situation, debilitated by the acute effects of a pandemic. It has undermined the entire production system and one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Europe; but most of all it has undermined the tourism, hospitality, cultural and entertainment services and activities which have always seen Italy as a leader and desired by people from all over the world. From an environmental point of view, we are perhaps those who have the most to lose regarding landscapes and all-round beauty; so it seems necessary to promptly implement what is required to preserve and maintain this huge and increasingly neglected heritage. Adopting now and develop the Renewable Energy Communities within the whole Italian system, allows us to do it quickly and well because it is the fastest and less capital requiring way. In fact, it allows us to avoid the huge investments on the electricity grid set with the standard chain of concentrated generation: it requires transformation to high voltage for transport and then re-transformation to low or medium voltage to supply local users. In the Energy Communities framework, everything will take place locally and will be acted by the final consumers properly orchestrated and combined with the local generation plants and storage. Regalgrid has been arguing for years that this is the most sensible and sustainable direction.
- Integrating technology and intelligence in the networks, above all at the level of the end users, making them more and more aware and involved: this is the real turning point for a lasting and effective ecological transition. This is exactly the commitment of Regalgrid and its patented algorithms made available to everyone. Only if all people, users of renewable energy, understand how advantageous it is to use it, generate it, exchange it, accumulate it and share it, then the transition will take place. It cannot be the prerogative of only a few large market players.
- Italy through the Renewable Energy Communities implemented in a technologically advanced way can find an extremely useful and professional way to sit with authority at the decision-making tables in Brussels: they are increasingly important and decisive for the allocation of fundamental resources for our country.
So, it is easy to understand how the advent and development of Renewable Energy Communities would be a real relief for the economic, social, and environmental emergency we are experiencing. Regalgrid is aware of this and is working hard to ensure that Energy Communities will be available to everyone and can be implemented for the benefit of the whole country.