Energy savings

Energy saving certificates and co-generation

In Italy, a very advanced legislative framework (Italian Ministerial Decree dated 20 July 2004 and Italian Ministerial Decree 21 December 2007) spurs operators in the energy sector to set themselves increasingly challenging energy savings targets. Thanks to the establishment of a reference market, the initiatives for improving energy efficiency are not only encouraged by means of tax breaks or capital grants but are also examined by the selection mechanisms based on the meeting of supply and demand. The increase in volumes of energy saved in the last 6 years is thus aided in the country, reaching around 3.6 Mtoe, 2.7% of total consumption.
The demand side of this market is represented by an obligation to save which the legislator has enforced on electricity and gas distribution companies. The latter must demonstrate the achievement of the savings they are assigned each year, proportionate to the volumes of energy distributed. The supply side is represented by effective savings, certified by the AEEG, achieved also with the contribution of specialised companies: the ESCO - Energy Service Companies.
The products traded on the market, regulated by the Electricity Market Operator (GME) via a dedicated electronic platform, are Energy Efficiency Certificates (Italian TEEs) or White Certificates, which nominally have a value of 1 toe each.

Box – The National Action Plan on renewable sources and the Acea Group ESCO

The Acea Group has taken steps to endow itself with its own ESCO: the company Acea Reti e Servizi Energetici, which supports Acea Distribuzione for the achievement of the annual savings targets and seizes the various opportunities offered by the subject of recovering energy efficiency, always relevant for the maintenance of the competitiveness of the production systems.
In June 2010, Italy in fact drafted the National Action Plan on renewable sources, with the aim of achieving the target (17% renewable portion) set for 2020 by EU Directive 200)/28/EC.
The Plan sets the maximum value of energy consumption which it will be possible to satisfy via renewable sources in 2020 as 22.3 Mtoe. This implies a national energy consumption target of 131.2 Mtoe, (22.3/131.2 = 0.17), essentially identical to gross end consumption in 2009. But the current trend suggests an exceeding of this target-limit by around 30 Mtoe, making a scenario of further incentive for energy saving initiatives likely in the next 8 years. The strengthening of the mechanism of white certificates, which turned out to be particularly effective over the past few years, is certain. 

During 2011, Acea Reti e Servizi Energetici achieved certified savings of 143,702 toe and thus not only achieving the objective assigned to Acea Distribuzione, on behalf of which it operates, but went further producing a surplus of 25,728 TEEs with a particularly brilliant performance because this was achieved in a moment of scarce liquidity on the market. Thanks to the shrewd operating policies adopted from when it was first established in 2005, Acea Reti e Servizi Energetici has accumulated an availability of TEEs in excess equal to 650,757 destined to be sold (see chart No. 33).




The activities which Acea Reti e Servizi Energetici is responsible for include the design and construction of tri-generation plants110 which produce electricity, heat and cooling energy, in a combined manner. In 2011, thanks to the subsidiary Ecogena, plants were created for around 2 MW, constructed in 2011 and brought onto stream at the beginning of 2012, which will join the 4.3 MW installed between 2009 and 2010.

Energy efficiency within the Acea Group

Acea is dealing with the subject of energy consumption, pursuing the aim of obtaining effective recoveries of efficiency in the various business spheres.
The availability of economic incentives offered by the Government has pushed the responsible Divisions even further so as to seek the best plant engineering solutions for the management of the most energy-hungry processes. During 2011, thanks to the connection and co-ordination work carried out by the Committee of Energy Managers, created in 2010 to improve the supervision of energy aspects, share experience and cases of excellence in the management of energy, an innovative approach to the subject of purchases of equipment which consume energy was proposed and launched in experimental form, passing from a choice based mainly on the lower purchase cost, to consideration and assessment according to the principles of life cycle thinking, of the sum of the purchase cost and the discounted back cost of the electricity consumed during the running life of the equipment. The new criteria, to be applied to equipment which has a heavy use of energy, such as office machines, systems driven by engines, etc., if on the one hand may complicate the traditional purchasing procedures and cause initial risks in the costs, on the other hand promise returns from an economic and environmental standpoint of a considerable extent over the mid term.


The Energy Managers of the Group companies, as envisaged, are therefore developing a new energy efficiency culture, which will not fail to produce positive results in the sectors of strategic interest for the Group - production and service- related.
Activities continued in 2011, aimed at recovering energy efficiency, with the completion of initiatives which led to a considerable commitments both in the project and executive stages. Of particular significance are the measures taken by the operating companies in the Water Sector which planned and implemented a complex energy efficiency plan, monitoring the progress thereof. Chart No. 34 illustrates the results obtained, greater than the objectives for the year:


110Co-generation, in other words combined production of electricity and thermal energy, makes it possible to achieve high outputs: between 80 and 90%.
Tri-generation is a particular application allowing use of part of the thermal energy recovered to produce refrigerating energy in the form of refrigerated water for air conditioning or industrial processes