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Lombardy 2000-2020: to fight back the energy crisis by becoming less dependent on import

The crisis perpetrated at planetary level is pushing a further phase of the ecological transition. ALDAI, Lombard association of industrial company managers

ALDAI conference – The Lombardy Region plan on further ecological transition 

On May 17th 2022 ALDAI – the Lombard Association of Managers of Industrial Companies – held a conference on the annual report of consumer behavior in terms of energy consumptions. This was in preparation for the next key phase of the Lombard ecological transition. The intervention was in collaboration with the authoritative team of the Lombardy Region. They are drafting the Regional Energy, Environment and Climate Plan (PREAC). 

The theme revolves around adaptive systems to apply at home to mitigate the negative energetic effects of the worldwide crises. Eng. Gian Luca Gurrieri, Director of the Environment Directorate General and Climate of Lombardy headed the team. The team also included Eng. Silvia Galante of the Environment Department and Climate of the Region; Dr. Mauro Brolis, Head of Energy and Sustainability Structure Environmental of the company ARIA Spa, Regional Company for Innovation and Purchases; and his colleague, Dr. Dino De Simone.

The guidelines follow the indications dictated by the European Union regulations and the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan. They are moving in the pursuit of the same objectives: reduction of consumption, development of local renewable sources and promotion of self-consumption, growth of the production system in the service of decarbonization and the adaptive and resilient response of the energy system to climate change.

The Energy Environmental and Climate Program

After seven years, they reformulated the Regional Energy and Environmental Program in the newer Energy  Environmental and Climate Program. It is set to come in action within the end of 2022. They approved the guidelines a few months ago on the proposal of the Lombardy Regional Council.

The program pushes towards energy saving and decarbonization, relying on renewables. The current war only confirms the need to go in this direction. Especially to accelerate the transitional process to become less dependent on energy import. As the emergency situation suggests, we have to diversify our energy sources. The growth of the production system follows the development of renewables. It also results in an adaptive energy system response to what is happening with climate change and the effects of war.

The focus is on the territorialization of the interventions that will bring production and energy consumption closer to the territories. They have already installed the application method used to achieve territorialization in seventeen areas. They have also identified the opportunity to put into practice a series of interventions; with the prospect to optimize the territories’ choices from a technological and economic point of view (Optimal search model).

Energy demand in end uses in Lombardy

Researchers collected data analysis starting from 2000 to 2019, before the pandemic. In here, the energy consumption curve did not rise as they thought it would at the beginning of the century. This is despite the peaks registered at the beginning of the year 2000 and then in 2010. 

Based on the calculations of ARIA Spa, the civil sector is the most energy-intensive. Transport encountered a gradual reduction since 2015. Natural gas is the most used energy carrier in Lombardy. It is still directly linked to the consumption in the civil sector and therefore, to weather-climate dynamics. In the last six years, this trend has been stabilized.

The use of renewable sources is growing, even if in recent years the growth has become weaker. Petroleum products and natural gas respectively account for twenty-three percent and thirty-six percent of the total. Final results of consumption calculated for each carrier show that they are the higher carriers. However, renewable energy sources take up around fifteen percent of the total divided electric energy sources. 

Feedback from the residential sector show that the consumption rate in the residential sector isn’t growing. This is due to the increasing installation of electrical appliances in homes accompanied by an equally efficient system.

The largest biomass station in UK, Steven’s Croft Biomass Power Station, UK, Mott MacDonald

District heating for densely populated areas

District heating is the option for distributing heat through a system of insulated pipes for residential and commercial heating requirements. These include space and water heating. It is one of the most considered choices in the civil sector. Optimal penetration can reach twenty percent of the thermal demand by 2030, with greater relevance in the presence of generalized implants. 

In this system, a mix of contributors effects the distributed heat: recovered waste heat from industry, from thermoelectric generation or from incineration (about 30%), generated by heat pumps, generated by biomass cogeneration (25%) or recovered from low temperature industrial processes. The most suitable type of territory for applying this method is the one with a high density of population.

The aim of Lombardy Region is to be fully transparent and to have an open dialogue on proposals and initiatives from ALDAI. They would like to discuss areas such as a simplified system, and the incentive on how to have it properly articulated. This also includes how to gain indications on the optimal range through which they can activate various processes.

Electricity consumption in the Lombardy Region

The use of electricity in Lombardy (70 million megawatts per hour) is broken down into different categories. These include the electricity from renewable sources and electricity generated from fossil sources produced in Lombardy by the Lombard thermoelectric park. They may also import them from other regions and abroad.

Data shows renewable sources are growing. In recent years, hydroelectricity has registered a new peak. The trend of the first months of 2022 compared to the previous year shows a foreseeable increase in the energy consumption (0.2% in Lombardy, 1.5% in Italy). If the Region faces a growth in GDP, associated electricity consumption will face stability, if not a reduction in expenses.

Production of renewable sources

The policy act approved by the Lombard Regional Council in 2020 provided for a forty percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in civil, transport, agriculture and non-emission-trading industries by 2030.

In the meantime, the European FitFor55 is foreseeing a decrease of about forty-three percent in the emissions from these sectors in Italy. In the PREAC, they include the goal as an acceptable sustainability horizon. Greenhouse gas emissions in the transition from 2005 to 2019 show a downward trend from 77.5 million to 60 million tons. By 2030, the total emitted amount will be 43.5 million tons. Reduction rate compared to 2005 is 34 million tons (-43.7%). The FitFor55 range compared to 2019 is distanced by only 16.5 million tons, since a reduction has already been registered in years from 2005 to 2019. Further reductions are expected between 2019 and 2030 by a total of twenty-eight percent.

Production from renewable energy sources (RES) has not shown significant increases. The variability rate is mainly due to hydroelectric production. This is due to the slowdown in the installations of RES plants (photovoltaic, biogas, biomass TLR). Other sources of renewable energy, such as solar thermal, did not have the development that they expected in the mid-2000s. Photovoltaics are more consistent.

How to implement a decreasing of the fossil fuels accompanied by the growth of the production system

The solid attention to manufacturing realities characterizes the political motives that lie under the will of PREAC. They have a strong request to make a plan that would give voice to the industries and identify the tools. These must have effective conditions to be able to help them. They need to straighten supply chains on the side of decarbonization through calibrated and targeted incentive support. By giving major incentivization, the markets will create major demand for innovative goods. The premise of PREAC is also to support industries and the demand for innovative products.

Sometimes, Regional systems focus on their internal systems and do not apply much resources into bringing their incentives abroad. This also includes their ecological leadership. Lombardy is one of the most active Italian regions in the internationalization of their companies. It has always been given centralized support by the government from an economic point of view. However, it is clear that regional activity has a territorial limit within which it cannot move.

Further implementation methods identify a framework for the measurements of the initiatives, the actors to develop them, who must operate following the discipline given by the regulatory system, as well as the position of local authorities who make their contribution on the activation of such activities.

ALDAI

The largest Federmanager territorial organization, ALDAI represents and guards almost 16 000 industrial executives by offering them support and assistance services. The Association also offers significant services related to the professional and family sphere, aimed at opportunities for cultural, social and networking growth.

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
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