Sustainable Approaches for the Valorization of Marginal Lands through RES Donato Eng. Prof. Bedin Senior Expert Unioncamere Veneto
The environmental sustainability of the installation of photovoltaic systems on marginal land can be traced back to the considerations that are normally used for photovoltaic systems on the ground, applying LCA techniques, that have highly demonstrated their environmental sustainability.
The main points that are generally considered in the environmental impact of solar energy systems, are:
Energy Pay-back time;
Greenhouse gas emissions;
Special hazards to health and safety.
Energy Pay-back time http://amslaurea.cib.unibo.it/203/1/tesi_intera.pdf
Greenhouse gas emissions http://amslaurea.cib.unibo.it/203/1/tesi_intera.pdf
Toxic emissions http://www.first solar.com
Specific hazards to health and safety
No specificriskisconnected to the production of crystallinesilicon. Eventualhazardouseffects can be controlledthroughordinarysafetyprocedures.
Silanis the main gas used for the production of amorphoussilicon. Being a highlyinflatable gas, ithas to be subjected to control measureswhenitisstocked and handled. Itissubjected to the rulesfor hazardousmaterials.
CdTe and CIS moules
There are riskslinked to the eventualdevelopment of firescaused by the esposition of cadmiumand selenium. A plan for risk-control has to be foreseen for decreasingsuchrisk.
Comparison of CO2 emissions Carbon Gas Nuclear PV c-Si http://amslaurea.cib.unibo.it/203/1/tesi_intera.pdf
Comparison of green-gas emissions for various technologies for the production of electricity Natural gas Petrol Carbon Photovoltaic http://amslaurea.cib.unibo.it/203/1/tesi_intera.pdf
Emissions of cadmium in the life cycle of photovoltaic systems and other sources of energy mono-Si poli-Si CdTe carbone lignite gas naturale olio combustibile nucleare idroelettrico http://www.first solar.com
In relation to installations on marginal areas, the favorable situation that emerges from a LCA for a ground photovoltaic system, brings with it other factors highlighting a positive environmental approach:
recomposition of the degraded area to allow the new solar installations: cleaning up and restoration of the soil, improvement of access roads, improvement of landscape compatibility, improved perception of the area by the local population;
almost obligatory presence of a decommissioning project and landscape reintegration plan of the place at the end of the life cycle of the photovoltaic plant;
reduction of the local air pollution load in cases of industrial use of renewable energy in places with high smog;
In the case of a landfill
Opportunities to perform or accelerate the reclamation and / or implementation of the safety measures on the landfill
Implementation of projects to reduce the emission of the landfill gas through its combustion and/or production of electricity and heat
Transformation of the landfill in a real park for renewable energy
In the case of an open quarry
Opportunity to execute drainage works, environmental mitigation and re-assessment of the area exploited by the extraction activity
Stop the eventual misuse of the area (the discharge of garbage, debris accumulation, clandestine activities without authorization) and allow a controlled development
Check the water quality and trends in groundwater flows
Contribute to a new vision of ground resources sustainable exploitation
A new vision for the sustainable exploitation of ground resources A model of sustainable land use: 1) depletion of agricultural land to supply raw materials for the construction of residential buildings; 2) provision of renewable solar energy to homes using the areas already exploited by the extraction of material; 3) savings in farmland equivalent, which otherwise would be occupied by photovoltaic systems and would not continue to be part of the food chain affecting the community system By ISCAT s.r.l ( Solaris park)
Exhausted landfills Wulmstorfancient landfill: now a RES Park Gesamtansicht des Energiebergs Neu Wulmstorf http://www.climate2008.net
1MW Solar Plant – Solar Lake (Saluzzo-Italy) Redevelopment of a inert quarry into a park with advanced photovoltaic solar tracking and concentration systems By ISCAT s.r.l ( Solaris park)
Mark West Quarry (Santa Rosa, California) The photovoltaic plant provides electricity for crushing and conveying the rock of the quarry and also to run an on-site wash plant, which is used in washing rocks for producing certain types of products, such as sand. http://www.stellarenergy.com/pdfs/BoDeanStellarPressRelease.pdf
Float photovoltaicislands (Miotto PD) Gravel and sand pits are recomposed in ponds with Photovoltaic small islands. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA http://www.gmiotto.it/piattaforma_galleggiante/impianto_fotovoltaico_galleggiante.php
In case of Industry Areas (sometimes polluted)
Chances for reclamation of the area
Local reduction of pollutant loads
Opening the way to RES investments starting from a solar park
Opportunities for new entrepreneurship
In the case of arid areas or brownfields (sometimes immersed in green hills and mountain valleys)
Opportunities for reclamation of the area through sustainable projects
Mooving of dismissed built volumes to other areas with a higher environmental compatibility
New attractiveness of the places with recall of visitors
New enterpreneurship opportunties and new jobs
Former coal brownfield in industry area (Göttelborn, Saar) http://www.eesc.europa.eu
Degraded mountain area characterized by disused and abandoned sheds, once used as 'turkey farm“ (SABBIA Valley – BS – Italy) http://www.cmvs.it/files/ImpianttoFotovoltaico.pdf
The new “Light Lake” (SABBIA VALLEY, BS, ITALY ) http://www.cmvs.it/files/ImpianttoFotovoltaico.pdf
The new “Light Lake” Park (SABBIA VALLEY, BS, ITALY ) The PV Plant is a precursor for a broader and more qualified recovery plan of the area, which envisages the creation of a Renewable Energy Park in the mountain community of Sand Valley. Currently under construction, it offers a path within a structure that will allow distributed learning spaces concerning multiple forms of utilization of renewable energy sources. http://www.cmvs.it/files/ImpianttoFotovoltaico.pdf
Sustainability, if seen in economic and financial terms, is generally more complicated than for investments in agricultural areas with optimal position where economic indicators are still favorable:
the marginal areas are such because they bring with them the tares that make them not-inhabitable, segregated, expensive to use (see landfills, polluted brownfields, areas of compliance of electric lines or major highways…);
they often bring with them long stories of official documents managed by civil servants. On them sometimes complex bureaucracy is pending, because they have to undergo to strict rules and regulations;
they are generally publicly owned and therefore they are in the spotlight because of their public interest.
It is therefore necessary to bet on components that compensate or overcome these “handicaps” such as:
commitments at the political level to pay attention to these areas and make administrative procedures concerning investments in these areas more simple;
compensating the handicaps of these areas with additional concessions of photovoltaic installable capacity ;
reserving for them more attractive incentives tariff;
reserving compensatory measures to successful bidders for additional work or expenses required for the reclamation of the areas;
involving the citizens indirectly and directly.
One example comes from the Emilia Romagna Region, which is an Italian Region who married the very spirit and objectives of the PVs in BLOOM project, which involved in meetings some public authorities of this Region. Emilia Romagna showed:
attention to the marginal areas to be directed to reduce the use of agricultural land for photovoltaic systems, considering that in areas with little sunshine and subject to long periods of fog, proportionally even more agricultural land is necessary;
convergence of intents between the local political and economic actors (agreements with short-term obligations);
adoption of the regional guidelines for the identification of areas to be allocated to RES and in particular to photovoltaic plants;
starting of programs for the first significant achievements.
July 19, 2010 an agreement was signed in the Emilia Romagna Region for "encouraging the production of electricity from photovoltaics" among:
Region Emilia Romagna;
Union of the Provinces of the Emilia Romagna;
Union of Municipalities of the Emilia Romagna;
Conservizi, which promotes the development and qualification of local public services in economic importance and represents and protects the interests of companies and associated institutions in respect of the Emilia-Romagna and of all other regional bodies, public and private.
Agreement objective: To promote and encourage the production of energy from renewable sources and reduce consumption of soil by installing photovoltaic systems on surfaces made available in the exhausted landfills. To this end, also through the enactment of specific guidelines, the parties undertake to promote the creation and management of these types of plants.
Main topics of the agreement:
environmental character of the initiative to be seen within the legislative decree on "environmental restoration plans and intended use of land”;
issue guidelines in accordance with existing legislation in order to identify possible simplifications with respect to:
building regulations and qualifications to the construction;
organization and management of conference services for the single authorization;
making solar systems compatibile with the management of landfill post-mortem periods;
conditions for the provision of public areas and the award of the construction and operation of photovoltaic plants.
Following the action promoted by the Regione Emilia Romagna an agreement among public bodies and the three utilities in the region - Hera, Iren, Aimag - for the development of photovoltaic systems on the surface of former landfills was subscribed.The agreement has a potential of 1 million 214 thousand square meters, equivalent to 56.5 MW and is expected to lead to an increase of more than 50% compared to the current installed PV capacity in the region. Currently there are 34 sites available for Hera and 8 for Iren. Photovoltaic plants can be made directly by the companies or by individuals who will be granted the use of land, by the Energy Service Company (ESCO) with a majority of public shares, or directly by local authorities. The above 3 companies will build on their "decommissioned“ assetsthe new the exploitation of the "premium" of 5%ground photovoltaic plants, increasing the rate provided by the FIT of an additional premium of 5% .
Example of photovoltaicplantbuiltafter the bove aagreement Photovoltaic power plant in the landfill of Herambiente-Hera Group company, located along the SS 309 Romea, Ravenna, inactive since 1994 and for decades to come will be monitored and guarded. http://www.ravenna24ore.it/news/ravenna/
Town citizens involvement in ground photovoltaic investments In Emilia Romagna - Marzaglia, Modena a photovoltaic park of 27,200 square meters inaugurated by Cpl Concordia, Hera Renewable Energy in record time. Citizens can buy "power shares " of the new sun park. http://www.fabiobe.com/
Also the Veneto Region is in the forefront in the promotion of photovoltaic systems on marginal land, in particular in landfill and brownfield sites, which are often contaminated by previous mining activities and / or industry with an eye to INNOVATIONIN COLLABORATION WITH ENEA, A PROJECT OF LANDFILL COVERAGE WITH EXPOSED EGSC GEOMEBRANE SOLAR CAPPING- EGSC was realized, the FIRST IN ITALY!
Terms of EGSC coverage planned for the landfill of TIRETTA (Treviso , Italy) courtesyofContarina
Geo-membranes covered with thin film photovoltaic pilot installation (Tesman, Texas) Web photographic repertoire
Landfill Cover Sections Pilot Design and Standard Design Web photographic repertoire
Best Practice Tessmann, USA (rif to installation in progress)
Temporary Authorization for a 5.62 acres
Installation of Green 60 mil Scrim-Reinforced TPO Flexible Laminate Solar Panels
Enhanced Anchor System conforms to Permitted Closure Grades
Web photographic repertoire
Best Practice Malagrotta, Italy
1 MW PV installation
Covering 21.300 m²
Producingapprox. 1.421 MWh per yearofelectricity
Avoidingapprox. 1257 tonsof CO2emission eachyear
Recyclable TPO membrane and PV laminate
Web photographic repertoire Malagrotta PV installation (Rome) - Italy – Former landfill area (Making Use of Unusable Space, The first PV installation on a working landfill - Solar Integrated Technologies –Andrea Bodenhagen Conferenza dell’ Industria Solare–Italia 2009, www.solarintegrated.com)
Best PracticeLeppe , Germany The plant was built with a combination of thin-film solar cells integrated into PE-HD certified geomembrane Web photographic repertoire
The experience from PVs in BLOOM project showed that the environmental sustainability of ground-mounted photovoltaic systems in marginal areas is generally evident, whereas when measured according to economic and financial terms, it depends not only on the incentive rate, but also very much on sensitivity and attention from the government towards the use of such areas for photovoltaics Such sensitivity, already developed in Germany and Austria, has developed further in Italy and in Greece and Slovakia to follow(thanks also to the actions developed by the project PVs in BLOOM), much less in Poland and Hungary, probably because these nations have much larger surfaces when compared to the number of inhabitants In Hungary and Poland low incentive tariffs also works against this. Wereallyhopethatlessonlearnt by partnership of PVs in BLOOM in the rehabilitation of marginalterritories by means of the leverage of RESinvestments can contaminate alsoother EU countries for a better use of soilresource.
Thanksforyourkindattention Donato Eng. Prof. Bedin Senior Expert Unioncamere del Veneto