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Energy consumption

Hera's energy consumption reflects the multi-business nature of the Group (energy, water, environment, and other services such as and public lighting and telecommunications). The balanced portfolio of activities creates synergies that increase productivity in multiple sectors while limiting energy consumption. For example, Hera manages cogeneration plants that contribute to electricity needs and at the same time fuel district heating networks, waste-to-energy plants that meet waste disposal needs while achieving significant energy recovery, and turboexpanders that evaluate pressure differentials in the natural gas distribution stations in the local managed networks. By implementing measures on its own production systems and at end customers in the area of operations as much as possible, Hera pursues a policy aimed at increasing energy efficiency in all activities carried out.

Primary energy consumption by type
thousands of GJ200920102011
Methane for production5,6196,6446,116
Waste-to-energy treatment7,7188,4118,601
Total energy consumed in electricity or thermal energy production plants13,33715,05514,717
Electricity excluding public lighting1,6811,5701,626
Electricity for public lighting600589540
Methane for heating of premises134133105
Fuel for vehicles363383366
Total energy consumed for uses other than the production of electricity or thermal energy 2,7782,6752,637

Data have been calculated using the conversion standards defined by the GRI G3 guidelines. The data refer to energy consumption by Hera SpA, Uniflotte, Herambiente, FEA, Hera Luce and Marche Multiservizi.

In 2011 there was a reduction in consumption both in the areas of energy production, including the waste-to-energy component (-2%), and in the remaining areas of consumption (-1%). Excluding energy spending for production reasons, other types of consumption fell by 1% overall compared to 2010 and by 5% compared with 2009. These results underline the effects of a policy of streamlining the use of energy resources. In particular, electricity for public lighting fell by 8% because of the reduction in the number of light points managed following the termination of the service in the municipality of Bologna and the energy saving initiatives activated.

White certificate objectives
Gas distribution106,359147,896161,640
Electricity distribution14,95919,94627,209

The Italian Ministerial Decrees dated 20 July 2004 set, for the five-year period 2005-2009, annual national objectives for energy efficiency relating to the end uses of energy by electricity and gas distributors with more than 100,000 end customers connected to their networks at 31 December 2001. Italian Ministerial Decree of 21 December 2007 extended the obligations sanctioned by the White Certificates mechanism until 2012, broadening the panorama of entities obliged to comply to include distributors of electricity and gas with at least 50,000 end customers connected to their networks at 31 December two years before the year of obligation. Hera S.p.A. is an obligee as both a gas distributor and distributor of electricity.
The Group's production of White Certificates has pursued, in the last three years, pre-established objectives through operations for residential customers and on proprietary plants, or through operations commissioned by industrial customers and carried out at their premises. The Group also promotes operations carried out by third parties with agreements that involve the splitting of the economic contribution deriving from the certificates and, finally, procures the unavailable quota of certificates from the market.

Energy saving initiatives

The energy savings initiatives promoted by the Group continue and gain strength, in two main areas:

  • the development of collaborations with various partners to whom Hera has made its know-how available to identify and plan energy optimisation measures specifically concerning the industrial sector. These are aimed at obtaining incentives (White Certificates) through the recovery of significant portions of thermal energy from processes or the use of renewable sources. This activity has seen an increase in the number of projects approved by the Electricity and Gas Authority. The projects approved in 2011 alone will be able to generate additional savings of over 25,000 toe in their useful lifetimes (5 years);
  • development of new interventions on the Group's buildings and plants aimed at rationalising the end use of energy.
    2011 stood out for the consolidation of the initiatives identified the previous year, particularly in the water cycle and in the waste-to-energy sector.

The main measures implemented in 2011 were:

  • in terms of district heating, the entry into operation of the new Bufalini cogeneration plant in Cesena and the plant that serves the 3rd PEEP district of Modena, which will make it possible to produce high efficiency thermal energy in place of gas boilers. In the meantime, the extension of the Imola network continues in order to increase the amount of thermal energy recovery at the combined cycle plant;
  • the improved efficiency of public lighting systems through the replacement of incandescent traffic lights with LED technology, and above all the use of remote management and the introduction of sodium vapour lamps and high efficiency power supplies;
  • the efficiency upgrading of the electric motor controls with inverters and the installation of new electric motors with class 1 efficiency.

The various project carried out include a number of interventions by industrial partners, aimed mainly at improving energy efficiency in order to recover thermal energy and improve the efficiency of the apparatus. The development of the industrial cogeneration promoted by Hera Comm via energy service contracts continues, despite the regulatory uncertainty that characterised 2011.
In 2011 energy class certification was also obtained for all main buildings not used for production purposes: 18 buildings owned and 14 rented properties.

Public lighting system

Hera Luce is the number two operator in Italy in this area. It manages 296,165 light points (-12% compared to 2010, following the termination of the service in 5 municipalities, including the Municipality of Bologna, partially offset by the acquisition of the service by 3 municipalities) and ensures the efficiency of the public lighting service in 59 municipalities in the provinces of Bologna, Ferrara, Florence, Forlė-Cesena, Modena, Pesaro and Urbino, Ravenna, Perugia, Piacenza, Milan and Rimini; for 26 of these municipalities, it also manages traffic light installations.
Hera's management of public lighting focuses on improving the service by reducing consumption levels by using new remotely controlled, electronic lighting fixtures. These systems reduce energy consumption, control lighting strength based on needs and guarantee timely maintenance. The time required to replace burnt-out lamps was, on average, three days in 2011.

Hera Luce energy efficiency initiatives

For the local communities, public lighting is an important opportunity to make economic savings, improve energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact. To support the local councils that are most attentive to these goals Hera Luce has undertaken three initiatives:

  • it has defined an energy certification system for lighting fixtures and public lighting systems that producers can use and that buyers can take advantage of to enhance the environmental aspects of their purchases;
  • it has signed a protocol, the first of its type in Italy, aimed at the light pollution abatement and energy optimisation of the lighting solutions adopted, signed with the Unione Astrofili Italiana and the Italian section of the International Dark Sky Association;
  • it has evaluated technological solutions that make it possible to optimise the management and maintenance of lighting fixtures.

Hera Luce manages around 6,700 traffic lights. The replacement of incandescent traffic lights with LED technology continues; after Modena (2,250 traffic lights), the replacement of the 750 traffic lights in Ferrara is almost complete. Compared to traditional light bulbs, LED bulbs consume up to 75% less electricity and last 25 times longer (50,000 hours compared to 2,000), they require less maintenance and guarantee better visibility under critical conditions. The modernisation of the traffic light installations in Modena in 2009 involved 131 plants, for a total of approximately 2,250 traffic lights. The saving of 286 toe/year will allow for the avoidance of emissions of 874.5 metric tons of CO2 into the environment. The modernisation of the traffic light system in Ferrara will result in savings of 95 toe/year and will prevent the emission of 291 metric tons of CO2 into the environment. Experiments are currently taking place with new apparatus that also uses LED technology for public lighting.