There are natural environments so deteriorated by the human beings to be no longer usable. The proposal, which comes from many parties, is to assign them to the production of energy from renewable sources, thus saving land for agricultural, and therefore food, production.
Clean energy is accessible to everyone and is available at no cost in nature and, as such, creates economic independence and, consequently, generates economic well-being and does not foment wars.
This is the reason why it is widespread in developing countries, which want to be independent from the already developed countries. Of course, independence in accessibility and use should be assured by government policies to each individual citizen. The strength of renewables is based exactly on this: they can be used also by a single person and not only by large companies.
The Campania Region (Italy) chooses the sun as its primary source of energy for all of its, civil and productive, activities and promotes the deployment of the solar energy in its various forms and technologies throughout the country. This is an excerpt from the first article of the regional law of popular initiative 18 February 2013 n. 1 “Culture and deployment of solar energy in Campania”.
All municipalities in the Campania Region were supposed to develop the Municipal Solar Energy Plans within one hundred twenty days from the date of coming into force of the law that, having been declared urgent, had come into force the day after its publication in the Official Gazette of the Campania Region.
The law also planned to set up the Biennial of the Sun and Biodiversity of the Mediterranean, a permanent conference on the development of research, technology and deployment of solar energy and of the environmental protection together with the natural, historical and cultural biodiversity in the Mediterranean Countries.
Other key positive items:
- Gradual replacement of the use of fossil energy with solar energy, also in order to reduce the pollution of air, water and soil and the negative impacts on the greenhouse effect and on climate change, causes of more and more frequent and intense disasters (floods, landslides, desertification, and the like);
- Rational use of energy and energy saving;
- Production of solar energy in already paved areas;
- Research and technological production in the field of solar energy with the creation of innovations and jobs;
- Involvement of local communities with a wide popular participation;
- Culture of the preciousness of resources and of the protection of biodiversity.
The law was later deprived of numerous articles and still remains nowadays little known and little used. Some of its items were developed, independently, even in the European project M2RES “From Marginal to Renewable Energy Source Sites” (“Strategies for the development of renewable energy sources in marginal areas”) and also coincide with an idea developed by the same authoress of this article, while working on the remediation of contaminated sites in a previously very fertile country, now made unusable. On this land, no longer usable for other purposes, we can install plants that generate electricity from renewable sources, in order to save other land, which is still potentially usable for agricultural, and then food, purposes.
The promoters of the law of the Campania Region on the solar energy have suggested it, just in these days, with the project “Pyramids of the Sun”. Briefly: as the covering of a “temporary” storage site, which actually goes on for years, of packaged waste, ironically called “eco-bales” by the press, they suggest the construction of a photovoltaic plant, which provides electricity to the local community and that, in the long term, will allow to collect through its revenues the funds needed to appropriately dispose off the waste stored there, avoiding the construction of an incinerator.
The European Project 2007-2013 M2RES concerned the Italian Regions Emilia Romagna and Veneto. During the project, training courses were organized about how to turn marginal areas into economic sustainable resource and into opportunities for environment, region and economy. One of the projects, for example, was about a municipal waste landfill turned into a powerplant, which contributes to move the trolley-cars in Padua.
Among the main aims of this type of projects can be highlighted:
- Economic, environmental and social improvement of areas, which have irretrievably lost every functionality, through their transformation into platforms for the production of renewable energy;
- Increase in value of marginal lands, such as abandoned industrial sites, abandoned quarries, ex-military areas, waste landfills, quarries and opencast mines, contaminated land and unused areas through targeted investments for the production of renewable energy;
- Creation of partnerships between public and private entities so that unused portions of territory can be improved and increased in value, generating in that way economic and social returns beneficial for the local communities;
- Increase of wealth and jobs derived from the income generated with the investments made;
- Benefits coming from the growth of the market of the renewable energy sources and of the diversification of the energy supply;
- Assistance to public organizations in the development of energy plans.
The transnational cooperation programs M2RES are also planned for the period 2014-2020 and it is hoped that they can be used by all the Italian Regions.
All things considered, this approach uses renewable energy to save the natural environment deteriorated by human beings and promotes the social and economic development, therefore, is sustainable!
Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering
Translation of the Italian article “Energia pulita al posto di siti inquinati” published in the blog of Sostenibile.com.