Geothermal power is the flagship of the Italian renewable energy industry. The development of underground energy is, in fact, the principal factor in the attractiveness of investing in green energy in our country. This is what emerges from the most recent study conducted at the global level by Ernst & Young, which for some years has been calculating an attractiveness index of world countries based on their strengths in the various renewable energy sectors (wind, solar, biomass, hydroelectric, and geothermal).
In their 2013 study, Ernst & Young assigns Italy the eleventh position on a global level, advancing our country by one step since the last evaluation, with a comprehensive score of 53.7 points, compared to the 74.4 assigned to the USA. What are the factors underlying the improvement? According to the experts, the increased stability of the macroeconomic context, which in turn makes a commitment to our country’s energy sector safer, and as well as a growth of the solar power business – especially pertaining to concentrating solar power systems.
Generally speaking, Italy has deficits – compared to other countries – pertaining to the base context (macroeconomic indicators and the appropriate environment to start businesses and investments) but climbed the global ranks in terms of the attention devoted to green energy: the priority granted, in recent years, to the sector’s development and access to financing for new projects are two positive elements for the Italian renewable energy industry.
As for the various sectors, geothermal power – whose nerve center for development is hosted in Tuscany – retains its primacy: despite losing a few points in the Ernst & Young evaluation compared to previous years, Italy ranks fourth globally, after United States, Japan, and Turkey. As for the rest, Italy climbs a few positions in the solar power category, including both photovoltaic and concentration.
According to Ernst & Young, despite an 11% drop in global investments in renewable energy, the abundance of opportunities, new technologies, and capitals should orient the green energy outlook towards optimism.
The primacy of italian geothermal experience is first of all a Tuscan primacy. The region is the only one to host geothermal plants, 34 concentrated in the provinces of Siena, Pisa and Grosseto for a comprehensive generation of 772 MW. The first geothermal plant, owned by Enel, began operating a hundred years ago in Larderello in the province of Pisa. Also, on the iniziative of Region of Tuscany, in Sesta (Siena) a technological hub for geothermal energy is under development with a focus on R&D activity. Another interesting experience of geothermal power in Tuscany is about the small town of Montieri: this is one of three cities chosen as pilot in a Ue project to study the application of geothermal energy technologies in combination with other renewable resources.
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