Varese Ligure, a town in Northern Italy, runs on 100% renewable power. The town uses a mix of wind, solar and small-scale hydropower. The town has reaped benefits from the energy network through added jobs, and an additional 350,000 euros [US $514,000] in revenues that are handed over to the council each year. Varese has also seen a six-fold increase in tourists in the last ten years, many coming just to see its renewable energy network.
Varese became the first municipality in Europe to get 100% of its power from renewable energy sources six years ago. It now generates three times more electricity than the people living in Varese need and there are plans in the pipeline for even more renewables.
The town has also launched initiatives to make Varese 100% sustainable. A total of 108 organic farms now supply 98 percent of the town’s food; water is purified using environmentally friendly technology, and waste has been significantly reduced.
Four wind turbines located on a ridge 1100 meters above sea level — where the average annual wind speed is 7.2 meters per second — generate 8 million kWh of electricity a year that is fed into the local grid managed by Acam, a power company in La Spezia. Photovoltaic (PV) panels have been installed on the town hall and the local school. The town hall has 102 PV panels covering 95 square meters and generating 12,700 kWh a year, which supplies 98 percent of the total energy consumption of the building. Varese’s secondary school has 39 PV panels covering 36 square meters and producing 4,600 kWh a year, which supplies 62 percent of the energy used.
In addition to the that, the town’s swimming pool is heated by solar power and a program to promote the use of wood pellet stoves is in the works.
23 thoughts on “Italian Town Runs On 100% Renewable Power”
Very interesting, it is very nice to see that progress is being made towards sustainable living. Hopefully one day we can apply this at home
Amazing and wonderful. I wonder how many advances they have had since the article was written and how many other cities in Europe have fallen suit. Great post!
Never thought that italy owns such a progressive town. I love the aspect that this town goes beyond the ecological energy production. The efforts in reducing waste and purifying the water in a “green” way are a further step into the right direction!!!
I´m going to visit this town!!!
Great. We are heading to a saner future.
Just imagine what could be done by a huge country with great resources! Our own limitations here in the US are purely political. It’s good to see we are finally moving forward once again.
Yes – very true. Not even close to Varese. And much smaller. Mmm. The heading of the article is what’s wrong, or at least the first line of the main text…
ok, people, please stop calling it just “varese”
Its name is “varese ligure” and the “ligure” is there because there’s a bigger town called Varese. Unfortunately, that town isn’t 100% eco.
Actually Andrew, some of us did understand that…
(North) America’s a great place with great people and great eco-projects. We need you in this too!
We Europeans understand sarcasm perfectly as we invented it 😉
All of you Europeans must not understand sarcasm. Joe was emphasizing how many Americans consider the country modern, when in fact a small town in Italy exceeds all of America with regards to renewable energy. He was making fun of his own country.
For sure. The thing is, people have a habit of using threads to, sometimes, poke at each-other. Such a waste of time.
I would like to be optimistic about all of this but I’m not. We have been badly trained and are far too used to wasting instead of conserving, too used to pointing the finger and too much in the habit of thinking there is nothing to be done on an individual basis. Americans AND Europeans are consumers and live in a high-consumption society. That’s very difficult to change.
I would like to add that instead of attacking each other over what probably wasn’t intended in a negative way, but what appear to be just complimentary comments in actual fact, and whether or not one’s geography is up to scratch, we ought to focus on what IS important: The planet!
When one talks about eco villages, and the skill and know-how in setting up and running them, the US follows Scandinavia, and in many respects leads the UK (where I am). However, each country has its merits in the environmental camp, and we should all work together and exchange our knowledge – which we do, but need to do more. ‘Modern’ day society is backward in many ways, when it’s so out of touch with nature. It works against nature rather than with it. We have much to learn from the many indigenous peoples of this world. We ought to listen intently to how they live, and marry this with technology of our societies in an appropriate way. If planned properly, and from an environmental impact stance, instead of big business profits first, then we can all crack this together.
Well, I’m off to live there in July. For good. My sister’s there already and I have the whole plan sorted 🙂
Don’t be hard on Joe. I don’t think he meant any harm. We (Europeans) are too quick to condemn North Americans for voting an idiot twice. Look What Italians voted three times. B O visited a turbine factory on the first day of his term in office. Burluscrappy went to a beauty parlour.
Carl, that’s a pretty ignorant thing to say. You don’t realize how large America is and how we are represented by people who don’t really care about much more than themselves. You’d be surprised to learn that most of the population under 30 in the States are focused greatly on renewable resources and sustainable agriculture. Check yoself fo you wreck yoself bitch
I lived 30km from Varese in Busto Arsizio for six weeks in 2007. What a shame that I didn’t know about their green credentials! I would have loved to have seen as much as possible. A stunning example of why it’s important to know what’s going on in your local area 🙂
Perhaps instead of insulting Joe people need to read that he said he wishes he had politicians like those in Varese!
There are examples of towns in the US taking action, and there are examples in the UK too (where I am) but there’s no way that we can describe the UK as leading the way in fighting climate change either.
Not knowing the geography of europe is irrelevant to this discussion.
Less talking, more action, both in the UK and the US is needed!
What else could we expect from an American? Joe represents the real American. I am sure he doesn’t even know if Europe is a city or a continent.I live in the UK and I went to Varese, Italy, recently and I was amazed by its Renewable Power. I also visited other Italian cities and I saw with my own eyes how those cities followed the example of Varese. When we talk about renewable power an climate change, Italy in general is an example for the rest of Europe. The US is not an example over climate change, neither is China. So, those people from the US, for example, should be worried about their country’s future. Someday, they will realize how wrong they were over renewable power but I’m afraid it’ll be too late.
I think It was meant as a compliment not an insult
Varese is an example for the rest of Europe. Instead of talking about climate change, so many European leaders should start acting and doing something serious about it. Joe, from the US says “This back-country town is light years ahead of the “modern” cities in the US”. He might not know that Europe in general is old and it is common to see old cities and towns in Europe. We all know the USA is modern.Towns like Varese, cities like Rome, Paris and London make Europe so special and that’s exactly why millions of tourists come to Italy, for example, every year to see its historic places. So, when “ignorant” Joe says Varese is light years ahead of “modern US”, well, I would say neither Varese nor any other town or city in Europe would even try to be similar to any American city because that would mean the end of the Special and unique Europe.
In colder Canadian climates huge amounts of energy can be saved by developing and applying super-insulation and building underground or earth-bermed dwellings. Power storage remains a problem but wind, hydro and photo-voltaic generation is costly but very possible. Oil will have to get a little more pricey before these problems are really tackled, however.
The article is somehow forgetting to elaborate about the “small-scale” hydropower in Varese. It might very well be giving most of energy to the town, especially in windless nights. The claim that “Varese is first municipality in Europe to get 100% of its power from renewable energy six years ago ” must be a joke, considering that 98% of power in Norway is from renewable sources too, for much more than six years. So, Varese could easily be beaten by most Norwegian municipalities. Unless by “Europe”, they mean EU only, then many municipalities in Austria must suffice.
To avoid confusion the correct name of the city is Varese Ligure.
That’s great – now we need to try that here in Canada.
This back-country town is light years ahead of the “modern” cities in the US.
I with their politicians were in charge of my city.