Prato allo Stelvio winner of the Champions League of renewable energy

Enertour destination - Prato allo Stelvio qualified as champion in the RES competition - Champions League 2010, the European competition between the best performing municipalities in the use of renewable energy.

This village of 3200 inhabitants located in the Upper Venosta Valley (BZ), has deployed a mix of different technologies which can be covered by local resources and therefore cover the renewable energy needs of its population, thus beating its opponents. The competition was attended by tens of thousands of German, French, Bulgarian, Polish, Hungarian and Czech municipalities, all winners of their nations. Prato allo Stelvio, for example, had qualified for the Champions League thanks to winning the Italian league “Comuni rinnovabili” (“Renewable municipalities”) organized by Legambiente.

For its part, the municipality of Prato allo Stelvio, has a long tradition in the energy supply from renewable sources: the commissioning of the first hydroelectric power station and a local energy strategy dates back to 1926 and sees the involvement of citizens, in good part members of the cooperative that manages the local energy plants. The successful formation of Prato distinguishes itself also for the variety of technologies brought into play, which use biomass, solar source, water and wind. A district heating system served by two stations, which produces annually approximately 10,000,000 kWh of thermal energy, provides heat to 85% of the area. Heat is half produced by a woodchip boiler, while the remainder is produced by two heat pumps through the recovery of four thermal power co-generating engines. In fact, in Prato allo Stelvio two co-generators operate by using a mix of diesel and vegetable oil; two other plants use instead biogas produced in a nearby plant, which enhances the sewage from about fifty farms and livestock in the area. Overall, the four co-generating units provide an average of 2,200,000 kWh of electricity per year.

Along with the contribution of biomass, which accounts for 90% of primary energy used in the two plants described above, water is also an important energy source in Prato allo Stelvio. The jump of the streams in the area is used by four hydroelectric plants of small and medium size (turbines from 250 to 2600 kVA), providing an estimated annual production of electricity around 12,000,000 kWh.

The number of solar, thermal and photovoltaic systems that cover the roofs of houses, hotels and companies in the village of Prato allo Stelvio, also increases. Currently, the installed thermic solar covers an area of 1,100 m² and up to 1,800 kW photovoltaic power. In addition, the Energetic Cooperative of Prato is the owner, along with some nearby municipalities, of the two megawatt class wind turbines located in Malles. With reference to the year 2007, the plant of Prato allo Stelvio was able to produce 18,600,000 kWh of electricity, compared with a total annual requirement of 11,200,000 kWh by the municipal network. Therefore, considering the annual budget, the municipality of Prato allo Stelvio exports around 39% of the electricity it produces.

The winning strategy of Prato allo Stelvio, characterized by the teamwork between the different technologies used, not only allowed this small Italian municipality to compete at European level, but it also allows its citizens substantial savings in electricity bills. The members of the Energetic Cooperative, representing 90% of the connected users, receive retail prices per kWh of electricity about 30% lower than regular market prices.

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