Italy is the world’s 8th largest country in geothermal power capacity, with 1100 Megawatt generating about six terawatt hours of energy annually. This article will explore the Italian government’s aspirations and approach to advancing the use of this energy source. I will list the largest geothermal power plants, the top companies spearheading the sector and challenges hindering the growth of the geothermal energy industry.
According to Italy’s National Energy and Climate Plan, it intends to generate about 5 per cent of its electricity from sources such as biomass and geothermal energy from 2 per cent in 2019.
Biggest Geothermal Power Plants:
- The Larderello Geothermal Power Plant, located in Tuscany, is owned and operated by Enel Green Power. Constructed in 1913 with an initial capacity of 250 kilowatts, the facility has undergone expansions, leading to its current capacity of 800 megawatts.
- The Valle Secolo Geothermal Power Plant, located in Tuscany, is owned by Enel Green Power. Constructed in multiple phases and commissioned in 1991, this facility has a capacity of 120 megawatts, generating 873 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually.
- Nuovo Serrazzano Geothermal Power Plant, located in Tuscany, is owned and operated by Enel Green Power. Commissioned in 2002, this facility has a capacity of 60 megawatts.
- Euroenergy Group S.R.L., headquartered in Lombardy, was founded in 1992. It is a renewable energy company focused on developing, building and operating renewable power plants.
- Franco Tosi Meccanica, headquartered in Legnano MI, was founded in 1881. It is a leader in power generation, specialising in building steam and hydraulic turbines.
- Exergy Organic Rankine Cycle, headquartered in Olgiate-Olona, was founded in 2009. It operates across multiple renewable energy sources with the largest share in geothermal energy with 495 Megawatt capacity.
- Enel S.P.A., headquartered in Rome, was founded in 1962. The company produces and distributes electricity and gas, with operations spanning solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower plants.
- Zuccato Energia, headquartered in Verona, was founded in 2006. The company is in thermal and kinetic energy recovery, with applications in geothermal power plants, biomass, and solar heat.
- The predominant challenge is the concentration of most geothermal resources in specific regions, particularly in Tuscany and Lazio. This geographical limitation can make it challenging to distribute geothermal energy to areas with high energy demand.
- The second challenge is insufficient research, which has hindered the development of advanced geothermal technologies and efficient use of existing geothermal plants. Moreover, the lack of trained personnel caused by the lack of educational programs is also harming the growth of this sector.
- The third obstacle is the lack of incentives to build new geothermal power plants in the country. Italy has vast geothermal resources, but the right policies are needed to scale the energy resources in electricity generation.
Italy, the 8th global leader in geothermal capacity, aspires to reach 5% of electricity from sources like biomass and geothermal by 2030. Highlighting the top power plants owned by Enel Green Power, including the historic Larderello and the innovative Nuovo Serrazzano, the country boasts a vibrant geothermal landscape. Industry influencers like Euroenergy Group and Enel S.P.A. drive Italy’s renewable energy narrative. Yet, challenges persist, with geographic concentration limiting distribution, insufficient research hindering technological growth, and a lack of incentives stifling new plant development. Overcoming these hurdles presents an opportunity for Italy to lead in sustainable geothermal energy.