The COMPASS consortium organized its second project meeting and general assembly in Larderello, Italy. Project partners discussed the progress and celebrated the milestones achieved since its start in last November.
The event was hosted by COSVIG (the Consortium for the Development of Geothermal Areas) and included a visit to Larderello geothermal museum, and to the Enel Green Power geothermal power plant where the COMPASS team could get an insight on the long history of geothermal energy in Italy and its pioneering role in the production of this resource.
Larderello is considered the world cradle of geothermal energy – the first experiment to turn on five light bulbs with endogenous steam was carried out there in 1904. Geothermal fluids, in the Larderello area at that time, were used for the extraction of boric acid and the production of boron for chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The success of this electrical experiment led to the building of the world’s first geothermal power plant in 1913, which provided electricity to Larderello and other nearby towns. Geothermal energy today has an installed capacity of 916 MWe in Larderello and Mount Amiata areas in Tuscany, covering 34% of the whole regional electricity demand. In addition, it provides heat to about 13.000 users through district heating systems in 9 municipalities, as well as to 26 ha of greenhouses and agrifood companies such as breweries and dairy farms.
The COMPASS project, through COSVIG, will implement and test a process to engage with local communities in these areas, in order to tackle issues related to the public acceptance of geothermal projects. Geothermal plants are facing public acceptance problems, mostly related to environmental and health concerns of local communities, which are often linked to a low information and awareness, in addition to a lack of engagement in the decision-making process related to the plants. The process implemented in geothermal areas in Tuscany will be one of the project’s lighthouse case studies to be replicated in other geothermal territories.