September 01, 2022
The energy issue is in the forefront of all the news. Trentino, too, is discussing what solutions should be put in place to make the Province’s energy demands as sustainable as possible.
To this end, the Environmental Energy Plan of the Autonomous Province of Trento 2021-2030 (“PEAP“), approved by Resolution No. 952 of June 11, 2021, plays a relevant and strategic role because it aims to identify the essential and necessary guidelines, and priority strategies to decarbonize the whole region. The general goal is to reduce the emissions of gases that contribute to the climate crisis by 55 % compared to 1990, thus exceeding the current 50 % cut target set by Provincial Law 19/2013. The number should not be frightening: An analysis of energy consumption in 2016 shows that Trentino has already reduced emissions by 20.6 % compared to 1990. And yet there is still a lot of work to do .
For this reason, the Autonomous Province of Trento has proposed the PEAP, recognizing some technological and socioeconomic trends, outlining a future energy system that cuts climate-changing emissions, introduces new efficient technologies and maintains the effective existing ones.
Specifically, the PEAP is an energy plan aimed at defining actions to save energy, make homes and industries more efficient, and increase electricity generation from renewable sources (solar, hydroelectric, fuelwood, and wind). The Plan implements many global-scale environmental goals, namely the 2030 Agenda – covering as many as 6 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – and the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to contain the global average temperature increase below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. Ambitious provincial-level goals also comply with the Plan: The Provincial Strategy for Sustainable Development, which defines Trentino’s position in relation to strategic sustainability goals , and the Provincial Urban Plan, which looks at the territory as an environmental, landscape, social and productive setting. There are also numerous references to other Provincial Plans such as the Water Protection Plan, the Waste Management Plan, and the Provincial Electric Mobility Plan.
Fig. 1: A visit to Santa Massenza lake hydropower plant (Trentino). GreenMarked. December 05, 2021.
The Plan draft was anticipated by a detailed collection of energy consumption data. In Trentino, households consume 40-43 % of the share, transportation 30-33 % and industries 24-25 %. Currently, transportation uses almost entirely oil by-products, whereas industries mostly natural gas (about 60 %) and electricity. The Autonomous Province of Trento imports about 40 % of the energy consumed (mainly in the form of natural gas and oil by-products) and exports 25 % of its hydropower-derived energy. The data thus helped define some key actions reported in the Plan:
1. Real estate energy efficiency upgrading. Insulating buildings, replacing gas and LPG-fueled boilers with natural gas-fueled condensing systems, replacing windows and doors, and replacing winter air conditioning systems with heat pumps will decrease energy consumption by more than 35 %, and considerably increase the number of solar panel systems.
2. More sustainable mobility. Reducing the need of internal combustion engine vehicles, promoting bike/pedestrian mobility, increasing transportation efficiency, and expanding the electric fleet of vehicles will go a long way toward reducing the huge non-renewable energy demand of the transportation sector. In this regard, the Plan calls for the installation of 283 fast and ultrafast electric charging points and an additional 707 “accelerated mode” charging points.
3. To encourage local renewable energy production and increase self-consumption, the Plan considers implementing a number of energy communities – that is a group of citizens who agree to produce and consume renewable energy together. Through a shared photovoltaic system, such communities can share energy and have more ways to adapt to different energy loads through collective storage systems.
These are just a few of the PEAP actions, which actually comprises 12 strategic guidelines (i.e., objectives) and 83 environmental actions, each of them belonging to a specific guideline. They will lead to a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and improvement in air quality. Through biannual monitoring it will be possible to assess the Plan effectiveness and thus obtain another evidence of Trentino’s commitment to becoming a sustainable land, where man and the environment can coexist in harmony.
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 Piano Energetico Ambientale Provinciale 2021-2030 PEAP: Documento Definitivo. A cura dell’Agenzia Provinciale per le Risorse Idriche e l’Energia: 336 pp.
 Centis, B. 2022. Un processo partecipativo per lo sviluppo sostenibile del Trentino: https://greenmarked.it/it/participatory-process-for-trentinos-sustainable-development/.
Cover- and preview image: Power transmission towers and lines at Santa Massenza hydropower plant (Valle dei Laghi – Trentino, Italy). Author: Di Syrio. August 13, 2020. CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93133307