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Ventotene becomes the first energy community island in the Mediterranean

Ventotene becomes the first energy community island in the Mediterranean

Seems fitting given that its name is derived from the Italian word for ‘wind’

The end of last week saw the inauguration of what has been described as a local energy community of several ‘firsts’. The small island of Ventotene in the Tyrrhenian Sea of Italy is now the first such energy community in the Region of Lazio and also the first community energy island in the Mediterranean.

This was made possible thanks to funding provided by the ‘Vitamin G’ regional call for ideas, although the specific amount of financial aid was not indicated.

Local energy communities produce, distribute and use their own electrical power

Geographically, Ventotene forms part of the Pontine Archipelago and is located somewhere near the border between Lazio and Campania, although administratively it belongs to the former. It lies some 46 kilometres off the nearest mainland point in Gaeta, and it is connected with ferries to Formia all-year-round, and to Naples, in the summers.

The isle is home to about 700 people, having been inhabited since Antiquity. It was quite famous as the exile site for banished noblewomen during the Roman Empire. It also contains Italy’s only bird migration museum.

The winter climate tends to be quite windy, which is what probably inspired its name – from the Italian word for wind – ‘vento’. That nowadays also makes it a good spot for renewable energy production, hence the approval of the project for a self-sufficient energy community.

"Today in Ventotene a new principle of energy policy became concretized in a small way, to represent a real Copernican revolution. Because this energy community, the first in Lazio and the first-ever on an island in Italy and throughout the Mediterranean, is based on renewable energy sources, which by definition, and unlike fossil fuels, do not consume natural resources and do not pollute. And the more these are shared, forging ties in the local community, the stronger the latter becomes," said Roberta Lombardi, the Regional Councilor for Ecological Transition, during her speech at the inauguration.

Councilor Lombardi went on to explain that this is but a step in her government’s plan to set up a widespread strategy to support the creation of such small energy communities. This is meant as a model to help less well-off families in a “model that combines environmental protection, innovation, new business, sustainability and social equity”.

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