Un Comune rurale sceglie l'energia sostenibile

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A small town in the Po Valley has switched to 100% renewable energy for its municipal energy users. A mix of different technologies now provides all the heat and air conditioning it requires during traditionally cold winters and hot summers.Roncoferraro is located some 140 km south-east of Milan. Its 6 700 inhabitants are spread over a wide area, with most working in the agricultural sector. However, several of the town’s public buildings – three schools, a swimming pool, sports hall, and two municipal administration buildings – are located within just 700 metres of one another. This close spacing sparked the idea of supplying all local energy needs with a single high-tech district heating (and cooling) network running on woodchips, as a replacement for seven gas-fired boilers.One of the project’s main aims was to provide a fossil-free energy system by using locally produced biomass. This is in keeping with the Po Valley’s urgent need to diversify its agriculture beyond livestock rearing and crop production. EU funds covered half of the project’s total cost, with the rest coming from national financing. The main partner was the town of Roncoferraro, with support from the Province of Mantua. Local members of the CNER, a national private farmers’ association supporting renewable energy, provided a vital guarantee that there would be enough local biomass for the new system.