Zero-emission heating provided by geothermal energy in Montieri, Italy

Thanks to a completely new, geothermal steam heating system, the entire region of Montieri can now access an emission-free heat source. An EU-funded project sustainably provides hot water and heating all year round to homes and local buildings. As a bonus, prices for the energy-efficient heat source are low – a better deal than gas or methane.

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The new geothermal steam heating system gives Montieri access to an emission-free energy source ©Montieri District Heating System The new geothermal steam heating system gives Montieri access to an emission-free energy source ©Montieri District Heating System

" The power grid is easy to use. Citizens can regulate the temperature or turn off the heat using a simple thermostat. Individual citizens can now enjoy a safe, convenient and cost-effective heating system – advantages that translate into greater value for homes connected to the heating grid. "

Alessandro Vichi, Director responsible public works - energy – management, Engineering Training Faculty of University of Pisa

It took two years to set up the Montieri district heating system, which has cut the cost of heating and hot water in the region by a third. The completely new and technologically innovative system is being trialled in Montieri for the first time, resulting in 10 564 kg of CO2 emissions being prevented each year.

The zero-emission heat source is fuelled by geothermal steam captured from a local well north-west of Montieri, before being transported to a plant in Travale, in the north-east. This geothermal heating system provides most of the Italian region’s heating and hot water, in particular servicing the town hall, schools, health centres and the theatre.

Two separate geothermal systems were constructed to ensure the most efficient process – the first uses steam and geothermal fluid to heat the water, and the secondary one distributes the heated water throughout the region.  

Energy-saving initiatives

The EU-funded project is having a knock-on effect around the region, with other energy-saving schemes springing up everywhere. For example, Montieri’s public lighting system has been completely renovated with new, energy-efficient LED lamps, powered by solar panels. Furthermore, the region’s sewers have been overhauled and the town’s main supply sewers completely rebuilt.

For those homes which are awaiting access to the new geothermal heating system, a solar panel system has also been installed, with 60 panels.

A first for Montieri

Across the region, aquaculture, sports and tourist facilities, among others, have benefitted from the initiative. In addition, historical buildings have been renovated, improved and equipped with energy-efficient modifications.

The combined efforts of the geothermal heating distribution system and other energy-efficiency measures taken in the region have cut annual CO2 emissions by 3.4 million kg and nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 7660 kg per year. Emissions of greenhouse gas into the environment have also been reduced by 3753 kilotonnes each year while, on average, the region’s citizens are each saving an average of around EUR 3300 annually in heating and energy bills.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Montieri District Heating System” is EUR 5 983 561, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 776 460 through the Operational Programme ‘Tuscany’ for the 2007-2013 programming period. 

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