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Enel geothermal plants in Mt. Amiata, Italy

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Geothermal energy is an energy source used to produce electricity whose environmental impacts varies greatly from one area to another, depending on the hydro-geochemistry composition of the geothermal ground and on the technologies used. In Mt. Amiata, Tuscany, local committees affirm that Geothermal energy practiced by Enel Green Power, is neither renewable nor sustainable.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Enel geothermal plants in Mt. Amiata, Italy
State or province:Tuscany region
Location of conflict:Municipalities of Piancastagnaio (Province of Siena) and Santa Fiora (Povince of Grosseto), Mt. Amiata area
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Geothermal energy installations
Specific commodities:Carbon offsets
Ecosystem Services
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In Italy, geothermal plants produce 1.8% of the electricity generated at the national level. In Tuscany, geothermal power accounts for about 25% of total annual electricity production. One of the objectives of geothermal development in Italy is to increase the production of electricity from alternative sources, in order to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and to reduce CO2 emissions (to align with international protocols and European directives).

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Project area:2,500
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectBagnore 4: 166,000,000.00 USD
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:400,000 - 700,000 [includes inhabitants of the area and citizens supplied by the Mt. Amiata aquifer]
Start of the conflict:2012
Company names or state enterprises:ENEL GREEN POWER (ENEL) from Italy
ENEL Group (Enel) from Italy
Relevant government actors:Tuscany Region
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Coordinamento dei Movimenti per l’Amiata SOS Geotermia, Rete Nazionale NO Geotermia Elettrica, Rete StopENEL, Forum Ambientalista di Grosseto, WWF, Italia Nostra, Forum Italiano Movimenti per l’Acqua, Forum Contro le Grandi Opere Inutili e Imposte
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
In January 2014 Coordinamento SOS Geotermia sent a letter of formal notice to local mayors and public authorities asking for actions to avoid environmental and health risks caused by geothermal activity in Amiata.[Doc. Diffida Sindaci]
In July 2013 Coordinamento SOS Geotermia and other national networks organized a one week camping in Mt. Amiata opened to committees and civil society. The national meeting aimed to stimulate discussions and share good practices on how to face resources commodification, nature financialization, green economy and how to guarantee environmental protection through citizens participation and democracy. The event was created to link up movements fighting to protect their territories against common goods privatisation and destruction.
The movements opposing the geothermal plants have joint together with other groups mobilizing against ENEL projects in Italy, overseas in Latin and Central America, and in Russia and East European countries. The network is called STOP ENEL.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Environmental impactsGeothermal power plants in the Mount Amiata area emit in air a high variety of non-condensable products (CO2, H2S, NH3, CH4). In addition Geothermal gases emitted also contain traces of mercury (Hg), arsenic (As), antimony (Sb) selenium (Se) and chromium (Cr). Carbon dioxide is the main emission from the geothermal field. The greenhouse gases emissions from geothermal power plants cannot be considered negligible[1].
The Amiata aquifer, since the '60s has decreased by about 200 meters. There is evidence of the connection between the shallow aquifer for drinking water and the deep geothermal aquifer [2].
Mount Amiata is an high seismicity area and geothermal exploitation threatens to cause earthquakes.
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsAn epidemiological study of Monasterio Foundation in Pisa realized on behalf of the Regional Health Agency documented the increase of serious pathology and mortality in relation to increasing concentrations of the pollutants emitted by geothermal power plants. In the Amiata municipalities, the average of mortality is 13% higher than everywhere else in Tuscany and closer towns having the same lifestyle[3].
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:SOS Geotermia network propose to stop the construction of new geothermal power plants and call for a moratorium for the existing plants following the precautionary principle.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Local committees have been able to bring problems related to geothermal exploitation in Mt. Amiata to the attention of local administrations. They managed to temporarily stop the construction of the new central Bagnore 4. Currently plants are operating.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Sentenza TAR Toscana n.436/2014 su Bagnore 4, marzo 2014
[click to view]

Sentenza TAR Toscana n.107/2014 su Bagnore 4, gennaio 2014
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1]Mirko Bravi b, Riccardo Basosi, Environmental impact of electricity from selected geothermal power plants in Italy, Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 66, 2014, 301-308
[click to view]

[2] Studio EDRA (24 aprile 2006, 16 novembre 2006, 19 marzo 2007)
[click to view]

[3]Progetto di ricerca epidemiologica sulle popolazioni residenti nell’intero bacino geotermico toscano “PROGETTO GEOTERMIA”, Ricerca medica e di sanità pubblica, Fondazione Toscana Gabriele Monasterio, October 2010.
[click to view]

Cappetti, G., Romagnoli, P., Sabatelli, F., 2010. Geothermal power generation in Italy

2005-2009 update report. In: Proceedings of the 2010 World Geothermal Congress, Bali, Indonesia
[click to view]

Bertani, R., 2012. Geothermal power generation in the world 2005-2010 update report.

Geothermics 41, 1-29
[click to view]

Protocollo d’Intesa ‘Accordo Generale sulla Geotermia’, Dicembre 2007
[click to view]

Enel website
[click to view]

STOP Enel network website
[click to view]

Enel Green Power website
[click to view]

Re:Common website
[click to view]

SOS geotermia website
[click to view]

Grosseto municipality and province websites
[click to view]

STOP ENEL Facebook Page
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Documentary Green Lies
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Marianna, CDCA (
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1302
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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