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Mid-Term Conference - Potsdam, Germany
Mid-Term Conference - Potsdam, Germany
9-12 January 2007 GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam
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Non technical barriers in Tuscany
The utilization of geothermal resources for industrial
purposes began in Larderello with boric salts production in
the early1800’s, with the first experiment of electric
energy generation in 1904 and the installation of the first
250 kW unit in 1913. This makes of Tuscany the birth-place
of geothermal activities. At present, the Italian geothermal
power plants are located in 3 areas (Larderello, Travale and
Amiata) with different for development history and installed
After the 2nd world war electricity generation is
continuously increased (about 5200 GWh in 2006) and a
significant increase has been planned for the next few years
(5600-6000 GWh in 2012), as the result of new specific
projects or development of resources located by previous
deep exploration programs. However an uncertainty about the
feasibility of these projects exists and is strictly linked
to the non-technical barriers that are mainly represented by
“Economical Sustainability”, “Environmental Aspects” and
“Political Contest”.
Economical Sustainability is an important issue since
geothermal exploitation needs high investment costs to
locate the resource (mining investment) and to build
gathering systems and power plants. Without financial
incentives there are no possibilities to realize a
geothermal project, but in Italy there are two favorable
circumstances: Enel experience in the exploration allows the
reduction of mining risk, hence of the required investment,
furthermore Italian laws provide incentives that increase
the economical sustainability.
Environmental Aspects can play a prevalent role as
non-technical barrier. Usually, in the world, geothermal
generation is developed in areas where the landscape is not
affected by geothermal activities, but in Tuscany geothermal
development involves a region characterized by high
population density and historical and artistic
peculiarities. This put the environment at the centre of the
general interest and the main real worries are related to
land use and visual impact, to the noise coming from power
plants and wells during drilling and production tests, to
the air quality especially for the smell nuisance due to H2S
emissions. Moreover many worries are also induced by
statements of some “scientists” in cases like the induced
seismicity (“Geothermal activities increase the local
macro-seismicity”), the hydrogeology (“Geothermal
exploitation impoverishes the drinking water reserves”) and
the effects on health.
Induced worries feed an hostile political contest more than
the real ones and local committees, as well as political
parties, are often against any level of geothermal development.
Enel is seriously engaged in managing these non-technical
barriers with technical approach. In particular, to reduce
the environmental impact Enel developed and designed an
innovative technology (AMIS) for the Hg and H2S abatement
that will be installed on 16 power plants in 2007, with an
investment of about 40M€, and approved a budget of more than
30 M€ for land recovery and new architectural solutions both
for power plants and gathering system. Furthermore, Enel is
also engaged in increasing the social acceptance of the
geothermal development by mean of cooperation and
relationships with local communities, agreement with the
Tuscan Council requirements about environmental issues and
knowledge diffusion.
Not always technical and political approaches are sufficient
because the weight of psychological aspects is prevailing.
To contrast not real worries of the population is necessary
an action involving not only the industrial operator, but
all the stakeholders.
In this effort the scientific community can help geothermal
industry, supporting knowledge spreading, assuming
unambiguous positions to avoid unjustified population fears
about negative effects coming from the presence of
geothermal plants on their lands, emphasizing the
uncertainties of geo-scientific interpretations in order to
avoid their incorrect use or ill-exploitation.
Id: 73
Place: GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam
14473 Potsdam
Room: Building H, Auditorium
Starting date:
11-Jan-2007   11:40
Duration: 20'
Primary Authors: Dr. ROMAGNOLI (ENEL)
FIORDELISI, Adolfo (ENEL Produzione SpA)
Presenters: FIORDELISI, Adolfo
Material: slides Slides

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