THE ROLE PLAYED BY A TOLL ROAD OPERATOR IN FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE
In the past decade the Atlantia Group has developed a strong commitment to energy saving actions in order to fight the increasing climate change phenomena.
This general guide line is reached through a continuous monitoring and management of CO2 emissions that has brought in this past years to a significant reduction in emissions.
The approach is in line with the basic orientation of the international agreements on clean energy, innovation, sustainable consumption of natural resources and actions to combat climate change and its impacts, In particular COP21 and the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Atlantia, and particularly Autostrade per l’Italia, the Group’s main company, have adopted this guidelines as a medium and long-term strategic program. The implementation of renewable energy and energy saving projects are bringing our Group exactly in this direction.
The sectors where Atlantia and Autostrade per l’Italia are more active in deploying specific projects can be summarized as follows:
- Lighting Plants;
- Climatization Plants;
- Renawable Energy Plants.
The aim is to reduce fuel consumption (e.g. for heating of buildings and plant operation), reduce electricity consumption (e.g. for lighting systems along the highway) and to produce partially its own energy through renewable energy plants.
The main projects developed by Autostrade per l’Italia in this roadmap of climate change fighting actions have been:
- New LED lighting systems in tunnels, outdoor lighting plants and inside buildings with an overall energy saving of about 27.300 MWh;
- New Building Management Systems, heating and cooling projects and other energy efficient solutions implemented along the entire highway network with an overall electricity saving of around 5.800 MWh and 415 kliters of diesel oil;
- Photovoltaic Plants with a total installed capacity of 10,5 MW and cogeneration plants with a total installed capacity of more than 0,7 MW electrical power able to produce annually more than 17,7 GWh.
The above mentioned action plan is reviewed year after year on a continuous roll-out basis and will lead Autostrade per l’Italia to reduce a further 6% in CO2 emissions by 2020 assuming the 2015 carbon footprint as baseline. At the end of 2016 the projected recorded a 24% progress, in line with the above mentioned target.
This results have strongly contributed to be part since 2009 of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as a concrete witnessing of the relevance of the results achieved by the Atlantia Group.
They are even more relevant if we consider the continuous development of Autostrade’s network. Only in 2016, with the enhanced network between Florence and Bologna (the so called Variante di Valico) Energy Consumptions increased by 10%, considering the additional 39 km of highway, with more than 50% of the new road passing through tunnels. However, Autostrade per l’Italia decided to maintain its general aim of additional 6% of CO2 reduction, being convinced that the various actions put in place can still bring to achieve the final goal.
A particular focus must be done on the photovoltaic (PV) plan that began in 2007 and has grown more and more over the years. Thanks to this project, Autostrade per l’Italia is now able to use immediately a 40% of its own produced energy and to cover 8% of its energy needs. This is part of the puzzle of actions on how the network’s total energy consumption has been progressively reduced, resulting in lower energy costs.
It is important to underline how this energy saving projects are strongly connected to cost reductions in the total energy bill and have, therefor, interesting payback periods.
Indeed our idea of environmental sustainability is strongly linked to economical sustainability: without this synergy, in our opinion, no long term actions can be implemented! This has been and will be our commitment.