Engie presented his today first agri-voltaic project in Italy: it is a park that combines the production of electricity from renewable sources with agricultural activities of the area and injected the energy into the national electricity grid e it largely powers Amazon’s operations in Italy.
Engie, the agri-voltaic park will power the activities of Amazon Italy
The park opens today at Mazara del Vallo, in the province of Trapani, inaugurated by the CEO of Engie Italia, Monica Iacono and the Director of FMCG Categories for Amazon in Europe, George Busnelliwith the participation of the Deputy Minister of the Environment and Energy Security Vannia Gava.
The agri-voltaic park, announced in 2021, extends over one area of 115 hectares. It was born in Sicily in a cultivated area between Marsala and Mazara del Vallo, in the province of Trapani. This is the first of two renewable energy plants planned by the two companies. The second plant is located at Paternal, in the province of Catania and will become operational by the end of the year. Together, the two plants will have a capacity of 104 MW Peak (83MW AC). According to estimates, the two parks they will avoid the emission of more than 62,000 tons of CO2 per year.
A collaboration for sustainability
Cutting the ribbon of the agrovoltaic park
The Mazara del Vallo plant is an innovative model. In addition to being the first agri-voltaic park built in Italy, it is also the first based on a contract Corporate PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) between two private companies.
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Monica Iacono, CEO of Engie Italia, explains: “Despite the context of the global crisis, we have continued on our path of decarbonisation towards the energy transition. The Mazara del Vallo agrivoltaic plant for ENGIE is fully consistent with the development strategy in Italy and in the world. We currently have 500 MW of installed renewable capacity and our plan aims to reach 2 GW in 2030 between wind and photovoltaic plants. To achieve these objectives, a continuous and constant relationship with the territories and with the central institutions is essential, together with a stable, simplified legislative and regulatory framework, which we hope will be defined soon”.
George Busnelli, Director of Consumer Goods Categories for Amazon in Europe, comments: “I am delighted to be in Mazara del Vallo today for the inauguration of the first agri-voltaic park in Italy, which combines the production of renewable energy with the preservation of arable land. This project allows us to accelerate our path towards net zero CO2 emissions by 2040, contribute to the country’s energy transition and generate a positive impact in the communities in which we operate”.
How an agri-voltaic park works
The agrivoltaic is a solution that optimizes the space of the ground, placing solar panels on top to make room for crops below. The Mazara del Vallo plant has advanced technology: double-sided panels on single-axis trackers that collect both direct light and that reflected by the ground, thereby increasing energy production. The use of double-sided panels and trackers reduces the area occupied by the solar system e improve efficiency for agricultural use. 150 workers were employed for the construction of the Mazara del Vallo plant. In the agricultural park of Mazara del Vallo they will mainly grow crops fodderbut also vines, lavender and aromatic and medicinal plants. This way you can preserve the rural landscape and biodiversity, and also give a benefit to the local agricultural realities involved in crop management.
Engie and Amazon for sustainability (not only with the agri-voltaic park)
Engie has among its strategic objectives the production of energy from renewable sources. In Sicily it has 5 plants in operation (plants wind farms in Salemi/Trapani and Elimi, plants photovoltaics in Lembisi and Santa Chiara and theagrivoltaico of Mazara del Vallo) powered by renewable sources for approx 174 MW of installed power and is carrying out new projects for another 68 MW: a 38 MW Peak (33 MW AC) agri-voltaic plant in Paternò and the 30 MW Rampingallo wind plant. Next to the Trapani Salemi wind farm there is one “Fast Reserve Unit” with 12.5MW of capacity. It is an accumulation system created to help Terna guarantee the stability of the electricity grid.
The Engie park in Sicily
Amazon is a global leader in purchasing renewable energy for its businesses, with over 400 projects in 22 countries, among which 128 solar and wind energy projects in Europe. In Italy, Amazon presented 22 renewable energy projects, including 19 rooftop photovoltaic systems, with a total capacity of over 115 MW, which can supply energy to more than 90,000 Italian homes. By the end of 2021, the company has obtained 85% of its energy needs from renewable sources and is approaching the milestone of powering all its activities with the 100% renewable energy by 2025.
The Sicilian park is therefore part of the strategies of both companies, to reduce emissions and make the most of renewable sources.