Geothermal energy as the solution for small villages in Italy
“Cold District heating” allows the transfer of a geothermal resource from the area of pumping and storage, toward revamping thermal plants which supply existing buildings, thus solving the typical issues concerning the use of renewable energy sources in old town centres, in areas with few common spaces, in contexts subject to an environmental, historical and architectural constraint of protection or to strict acoustic zoning “Cold District Heating” can represent a simple, rapid, noninvasive and “renewable” way to revamp heat production plants.
It is a valid answer to the energy needs of those small urban centers in the Brescian Region which are interested in reaching the energy efficiency of their buildings but, which cannot find a valid solution in the conventional District Heating, because of the limited dimension of their catchment area. An interesting example is the town of Berlingo (2700 inhabitants), where a geothermal power plant serves the heating and cooling demand of a new school building that was constructed in 2013. The water is pumped from the aquifer at 11–15 ◦C and then sent through one pipeline to heat pumps and chillers that use it to simultaneously produce hot and cold water for space heating/cooling and DHW production. On the basis of this pilot plant, a similar plant is being constructed in the town of Sale Morosino: in this case, the cold water source will be Lake Iseo, while the users will be two school buildings and a sports centre, with an estimated peak heating power of about 300 kW th.