The utopia of zero-emission energy self-sufficiency made reality in an Italian village

The Transition Initiative was born in England in 2006 and consists of the promotion of grassroots community projects with the aim of achieving self-sufficient cities free of fossil fuels. The first of these cities in Italy was a small town near Bologna. At a time when the concept of ecological transition has been included even by Mario Draghi in his new team of ministries, the isolated experience of this town may represent the milestone of the new EU Green Deal in Italy.

Photovoltaic energy, geothermal plants, seismic safety and environmental education are some of the requirements for the future according to the European Green Deal. Valsamoggia, on the outskirts of Bologna, represents the first model in Italy of a city in transition,

The primary school, which welcomes 300 children, has a very sophisticated energy structure: thanks to solar panels and heat pumps it is completely self-sufficient; and adjusts the temperature and brightness based on external conditions.

Daniele Ruscigno is the mayor of Valsamoggia who has piloted the project despite the disbelievers:

“We took an existing project with the conviction that we could transform it using the principles of the energy transition: that is, build a school completely free of fossil fuels. They told us that we were crazy and that we would never get it. Well, yes, we have been able to build the first school in Italy, powered only by renewable sources. “

Euronews correspondent Luca Palamaro in Valsamoggia, near Bologna:

“Do places like this represent the vision of our future? People here think they do. They are passionate about it, because they think they have found a way to do it: everyone is involved in the decisions – easy to say, but difficult to do. do … although not for them. “

Transition also means another way of making decisions, such as the so-called sociocracy, which focuses on the true meaning of things and the common good, rather than majority voting.

He tells us Cristiano Bottone, co-founder of Transition Italia:

“By raising awareness about climate and sustainability issues, the village was able to remove the original project and transform it into a completely innovative project. We did it through dialogue and understanding of the issues and putting the meaning of things at the center of what we were doing. “

This innovative form of democracy allowed this municipality to organize home delivery services for the people during the close of the Covid-19 pandemic and to apply European legislation on energy self-consumption to the local population.

Today’s democratic processes have proven too slow to meet current and future challenges. A small town in Italy is showing that change is not only necessary, but also possible.