Geothermal operations fund and fuel new district heating system in Chiusdino, Tuscany

Geothermal operations fund and fuel new district heating system in Chiusdino, Tuscany View over San Galgano abbey at Chiusdino, Tuscany, Italy (source: flickr/ simonmatzinger, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 13 Oct 2019

The inauguration of a new geothermal district heating system in Chiusdino/ Tuscany was made possible through the royalties from a nearby geothermal power plant of Enel Green Power and the heat it is providing to the system.

A new geothermal district heating network is officially been started today in Chiusdino, a municipality in the Province of Siena in the Italian region Tuscany. Today, the municipality of Chiusdino inaugurates the first section of the local district heating network, thus realizing a project that aims to bring geothermal at the service of citizens and businesses.

The system initially starts in the newest part of the municipality, then to the center of the village as part of the second section of the work, while also working on further extension to the Montalcinello district.

“The primary exchange station was set up next to the Chiusdino 1 plant of Enel Green Power; from there we arrived at the beginning of the town where we built the station of arrival and then the network for the whole town on the outskirts of the capital, where there are all the main services such as the school (childhood, primary and secondary), the barracks of the carabinieri (police) and the sports field, in addition to the residential units. All this for a contract of about EUR 4 million (around USD 4.4m) “, which will bring environmental benefits as well as economic savings for users who will have the opportunity to switch from fossil fuels such as LPG – given that Chiusdino is a municipality where methane does not arrive – to the far more economical and sustainable geothermal steam.”, so mayor Luciana Bartaletti.

The second part of the project, at the same EUR 4m cost, has already secured financing and contracted through tender: “We are starting to build the district heating network also in the historic center of the village. Together with the works for district heating we will combine the renovation of the streets, where the bitumen will disappear – a legacy of the 1960s and 1970s – and the stones will return. Our village has retained much of its rural and medieval authenticity, and we want to recover what was lost, going back to the origins”.

In all, there the around EUR 8 million in cost actually also comes from geothermal energy: “The work – the mayor underlines – was entirely financed through the geothermal funds deriving from the Enel Green Power contributions, all through the help of the Consortium for the development of geothermal areas (CoSviG).”

In parallel, the implementation of district heating is advancing also for the fraction of Montalcinello – an investment of over EUR 2 million announced at the beginning of the summer – with the aim of not stopping there: «It will then be up to the other administrators to provide for the fraction in the future by Ciciano”, the mayor comments.

Given the results already achieved, “it is very important to highlight the role that geothermal energy plays in those municipalities that are geographically disadvantaged like ours. They mistakenly call us minor Tuscany – underlines Bartaletti – but they are wrong because we represent an enormous wealth: geothermal energy, which represents an important resource, but here there is also the Abbey of San Galgano as well as a splendid landscape. Chiusdino is an example of how it is possible to reconcile history, art and geothermal energy “.

“Without geothermal energy – observes the mayor – probably the population of Chiusdino would have continued to decline, until the depopulation. Thanks to this renewable source, to the Abbey with the tourism that it brings and to the pharmaceutical industry in the area in recent years we have instead succeeded in stabilizing the population and there is not even a decrease in the younger age groups, with children who are indeed almost doubled at school. Unlike other countries, families have chosen to stay here: there is a great sense of belonging to the community that is also seen in cultural, sporting and tourist associations. Everyone works with their heads down because they want their country to live on. Geothermal energy and history have been the key to maintaining our dignity, which, instead, is not always recognized as a small town at national level, regardless of political colors.”