Driving Italy's Industrial Renewable Energy Communities: Magaldi Group's role in another milestone

08 August 2023

Driving Italy's Industrial Renewable Energy Communities: Magaldi Group's role in another milestone

Italy is ready for Renewable Energy Communities (RECs), and our Group is among the creators of yet another milestone.

Alongside Enel X Italia, a company within the Enel Group dedicated to developing innovative energy efficiency solutions, and FICEI (Italian Federation of Industrialization Consortia and Bodies), Magaldi Green Energy is among the members and founding partners of the first Renewable Energy Community within an industrial development area in Buccino, Salerno.
The REC was established following an analysis of the surfaces within the Industrial Area and the energy needs of the participating companies, particularly those with high energy consumption or operating in hard-to-abate sectors. It is powered by two photovoltaic plants with a combined capacity of 1.6 MW of renewable energy, which will produce approximately 1,250 MWh over 20 years, resulting in a reduction of 807 thousand kg of CO2 emissions annually.

Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) as an Advanced Circular Economy solution.

In line with the European Green Deal, the implementation of the European Directive RED II allows for the development of local models of renewable energy production and consumption that incentivizes energy autonomy and decarbonization of industrial areas, reducing energy costs and making the electricity grid more sustainable. Renewable energy production and consumption create energy income, while the reduction of CO2 and the decrease in network losses improve environmental impact. From a strategic point of view, Renewable Energy Communities will play a decisive role in Italy's medium and long-term energy policies, with the main goal - more than operational - of spreading good practices of circular and shared economy, fighting the energy crisis caused by high bills and promoting greater social aggregation: RECs naturally incentivize sharing and urban sustainability, making participants the main actors of the energy transition.

A breath of (clean) air for the entire energy sector with countless applications and scenarios.

In addition, RECs allow exceeding the MWh thresholds set for Industrial Development Areas (ASI). Currently, only plants with a capacity of less than 1 MWh can participate in an REC. But it is evident that the strong demand for renewable energy will require significant quantities of energy in the near future, for which this limit will actually be a constraint.

RECs: Energy storage solution are crucial, MGTES takes the spotlight.

It is inevitable to notice that technologies like our TES sand battery MGTES - Magaldi Green Thermal Energy Storage - are perfect innovations for the development of renewable energy communities based on the integration of multiple solutions to counteract the intermittency issue and get clean and green energy available without time limits. MGTES is a perfectly suitable TES technology for the new REC in Buccino e for all industrial processes that count on steam, from paper to textiles to food & beverage. Buccino, the original headquarters of the Magaldi family company, in the province of Salerno, hosted the world's first MGTES plant, which allows industries (and not only) to replace gas for heat production with renewable sources, decarbonizing processes and freeing from dependence on fossil fuels. With a useful life of 30 years, MGTES is entirely made in Italy, protected by European and global patents, and completely made of reusable materials: an energy storage innovation with zero impact thermal storage on a fluidized bed of sand, which uses only renewable energy to generate high-temperature green heat (between 120° and 400°) and stores excess electric and thermal energy for days or weeks with minimal losses and a global cyclic efficiency close to 90-95 per cent.

RECs will enable energy autonomy for businesses and communities.

Sharing energy, reducing costs, improving environmental impact, accessing significant incentives, and energy solidarity are all factors supported by a Renewable Energy Community (REC), in which TES solutions such as MGTES can be central. The main difference between the collective self-consumption system and the REC is that the former is limited to a building, while the REC extends its impact to an entire area covered by the same primary electrical substation, providing a wider range of users and capacity for renewable energy production. The ultimate goal is to ensure energy self-sufficiency for businesses and communities. Thanks to its mission and technologies, Magaldi Green Energy is proud to have been able to anticipate the most convenient and long-term energy paths, way before international geopolitical scenarios made the situation clear on a large scale.

Italy supports the Renewable Energy Communities. 

In Italy, support for RECs is already wide and authoritative. There is a lot of media coverage about it, RECs are at the center of national and international political agenda, and initiatives are popping up to foster the debate on the topic. Last December in Rome, Ficei and Unioncamere organized an event dedicated to Renewable Energy Communitites. Even before that, last August, Symbola Foundation dedicated its entire annual summer seminar to the topic of energy communities, emphasizing the combination of empathy, technologies, and territories through RECs to revitalize the energy economy and overcome the crisis. This year, the focus was once again confirmed during the Symbola event in Mantua in June, which was dedicated to the theme of "Cohesion is Competition". Energy communities were given significant attention during the event, including a discussion where Letizia Magaldi, Magaldi Green Energy Executive Vice President, was among the speakers.

We know we need to produce clean energy, to improve the energy efficiency of what is already in operation and to lighten the too many 'no's' bureaucratic burden.

It's time to act.

Global perspective: the urgency of new models for the transition to renewable energy sources.

McKinsey Global Energy Perspective 2022 Report tells us that even if all global countries will deliver on their current net-zero commitments, global emissions will remain far away from a 1.5ºC pathway. Global fossil-fuels demand moves forward and is expected to peak between 2023–2025 with oil reaching highest point in the next 5 years, gas remaining the most resilient fossils, and coal staying a central part of the energy system to 2050. A serious risk for future climate commitments. The transition to renewable energy sources by 2050 represents a major challenge for emissions reduction. A new energy model is needed, based on shared and circular economy. A positive impact on markets and social relations, encouraging a responsible and far-sighted use of resources, is all we can hope for, just making the right energy choices.

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