Awarded by the United Nations, the ‘Green electrification of Sardinia’ project aims to decarbonise the island
The energy transition will succeed thanks to the use of renewable energy
Sardinia is going to be a completely green region. This will happen thanks to ‘Green electrification of Sardinia’, a project that focuses on energy transition and environmental sustainability.
The project, promoted by Enel and the Roma Tre University, was presented last January 27 during an online event by the Roma Tre University – “Manlio Rossi-Doria” Economic and Social Research Center with the support of Sardegna Rinnovabile Alliance. The latter brings together WWF, Kyoto Club, Greenpeace and Legambiente.
What is the goal? Creating a Sustainable Sardinia, free from the widespread use of non-renewable energy by 2030. This can only happen by relying on electricity from renewable sources.
In this regard, Mariagrazia Midulla, responsible for Climate and Energy of WWF Italia and for Sardegna Rinnovabile Alliance, explained to Repubblica that “Whoever says that Sardinia should be equipped with a modern gas network is making a historic mistake“.
The Polytechnic of Milan and the University of Padua agree and, indeed, believe that the energy transition in Sardinia is absolutely feasible.
What does ‘energy transition’ mean?
An explanation comes from Fabrizio Pilo, professor of Electrical Systems for Energy and Deputy Rector for the territory and innovation of the University of Cagliari. According to him, it means to “Increase the domestic heating from electricity beyond the current 27%“. But also “Increase electrification in the agricultural and food industries”. The same goes for land and sea transport, both public and private.
To do this, it is essential to spread the use of technologies that allow the electrification of final consumption. Among these: heat pumps for heating, energy efficiency systems, induction hobs and electric vehicles.
Sardinia as an international model
Sardinia’s transition to electricity from renewable sources is in line with the UN 2030 Agenda, which aims to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In particular, SDG 7 aims to ensure access to modern, reliable, sustainable and economical energy to everybody. All this follows the climate commitments established by international politics through the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The UN has also included the ‘Green Electrification of Sardinia’ among the Multi-Stakeholders Energy Compact as a model to follow at an international level.
Valeria Termini, professor of Political Economy at the Roma Tre University and member of the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy, explains that this is an opportunity for the island and for Italy to “Offer a model of reference for the independent development of the most vulnerable countries, those in which 759 million people still live dramatically without electricity“.
Sardinia: a perfect territory for energy transition
The transition to renewable sources does not respond only to international commitments, but also to the configuration of the Sardinian land.
Indeed, the island enjoys a demographic and geographical situation favorable to change.
First of all, it has a low population density. This favors the so-called ‘distributed generation’, the creation of many small interconnected renewable plants. Each of them would produce, consume and exchange energy with the others, creating a multidirectional network.
Then, it is one of the Italian regions with the highest level of solar radiation.
Furthermore, it is very windy, especially along the central-northern and south-western coasts and offshore.
Lastly, it is one of the regions with the most underground geothermal fluids.
For all these reasons, the energy transition in Sardinia could be easier than in other areas of Italy. In fact, the photovoltaic and wind power plants on the island already cover 7% and 15% of the region’s energy production.
The effects of green electrification
The ‘Green Electrification of Sardinia’ would bring several benefits.
Primarily, according to Midulla, it would create 5,000 new jobs by 2030 and 10,000 by 2050.
Then, there would be an economic savings for people. The current energy expense for citizens would be reduced by about half, while for companies by about 20%.
Finally, the environmental benefits would give a further boost to one of the leading industry of Sardinia: tourism. In particular, sustainable tourism.
In conclusion, with the energy transition Sardinia projects itself into the future without losing its identity.