The city is heated by water from the lake

LOCARNO

The project Verbano 2030 is underway - a thermo network which will will expand to the district Rusca-Saleggi - The power plant will be operational from 2024 and will be located in the vicinity of the Lido - 14 million investment

The city is heated by water from the lake
The first steps, taken with the Morettina power plant in the ‘90s. © CdT/Archive

The city is heated by water from the lake

The first steps, taken with the Morettina power plant in the ‘90s. © CdT/Archive

Harnessing Lake Maggiore to heat homes, not to mention sanitary water. The aim of the project presented by Calore SA, a joint venture of SES and AET, is called Verbano 2030. «Verbano because we will use the water of the lake and 2030 is when we aim to have reached our objectives with the Rusca-Saleggi district, and in the future to extend the network to other areas of Locarno and other municipalities», the director of Calore SA, Vinicio Curti, explained. «The first city district heating scheme dates back to the 1990s, with the Morettina power plant, which to this day serves a number of public and private buildings in the Peschiera,« continued SES director Daniele Lotti. « However, in this field, generally speaking, Ticino has fallen a bit behind. It is now trying to catch up.» The Verbano 2030 project, consequently, is entirely in line with the new energy policy, which intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Swiss building stock to zero by 2050. «Today more than 60% of the heat in Switzerland is obtained by relying on fossil fuels. And one quarter of the CO2 produced is emitted by buildings,« said Curti. Whereas district heating, as it is conceived in the Verbano 2030 project, is a system based on renewable energy sources, simple and efficient, particularly suitable and which also benefits from incentives in case of conversion of existing plants linked to fossil fuels.

More than 6,000 potential users

The system is simple, as mentioned. In essence, the water is taken from the Lake Maggiore, heated with electricity in the thermal power plant (planned in the Lido area) and then channeled into the pipes of the district heating network, which will connect the buildings concerned. The project, which will start providing heat from 2024, will have a maximum capacity of 8 MW, will provide thermal energy of 14,000 MWh and be able to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 3,000 tons each year. All for an investment of 14 million francs. This is, of course, according to current estimates. But adaptations will be possible on the basis of the number of buildings that will be connected. At least twenty are necessary to start. But 100-150 of those potentially served by Verbano 2030’s network, in a densely populated neighborhood. «At least 6,000 people inhabit the Rusca-Saleggi area,« confirm City Hall Pierluigi Zanchi and the director of the Urban Planning and Infrastructure Division, André Engelhardt. More than 6000 people who, in the near future, may rely on a heating system that, besides being environmentally friendly, is also «reliable, safe and professionally managed». Not forgetting the fact that by relying on the district heating network, as pointed out during the presentation, «all the risks and burdens associated with heat production are transferred to the supplier.» From fault repair to renewals, passing through maintenance or regulatory adaptations.

The guarantee of the public body

In this respect, Daniele Lotti and the co-director of AET, Claudio Nauer, have recalled that by the year’ end a service company in this field will be created, dealing in particular with maintenance. A company that will see the involvement of AET, SES, Azienda multiservizi of Bellinzona (the Legislative Council gave the green light on Monday evening) and Teris. «All companies, at the expense of the public entity. A long-term guarantee, therefore,« concluded Lotti and Nauer.

Interested parties, step forward

The campaign to recruit prospective customers is now underway. Interested parties can visit calore.ch, write to [email protected] or call 091/756.92.00.

©CdT.ch - Riproduzione riservata

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