Edoardo Zanchini is the National Vice President of Legambiente, the most widespread environmental organization in Italy, and Head of the energy, transport and urban planning national office. He studied architecture and taught urban planning and urban ecology in Rome and at the Pescara University.
Edoardo is member of the board of Coordinamento Free (Association of Renewable Energy and Efficiency) and various scientific Committees in Italy.
1) Legambiente is RGI's newest member. Why did you choose to become a part of RGI?
Definitely for the interest of being part of a debate at European level on the energy shift in progress. The challenges we will face are so widespread that we need a comparison with the various stakeholders on how energy networks will change in this new model focused on renewable sources. From this point of view, RGI seems to constitute a very interesting model.
2) What are your expectations in being an RGI member and what might Legambiente contribute to the RGI network?
We expect to learn from the experiences of other countries, in particular regarding conflict management in the territories of new power lines. I believe that the Italian experience can be interesting because in recent years, the growth of renewables has been very strong, reaching 37% in the year 2014 when it comes to power consumption. In this transition, we have to understand the role that national and international grids play and the innovation brought by local smart grids. And this situation has some similarities with the experiences being made in other countries.
3) Do your initial experiences coincide with your expectations?
Yes, regarding the kind of debate that we had in the meetings and also the targets that were discussed in the RGI strategic programme for the next years. Furthermore, we understood through the good practices in other countries that the issues on which we focus as Legambiente in Italy can produce positive results in terms of the participation and involvement of communities and also in the environmental evaluation of projects.
4) What would you say are the most important grid and (connected) environmental protection “issues" that Italy is facing at the moment?
I would say that there are two main issues. The first concerns the vision of the electrical network that we need to build in Italy in the next years; this network must fit inside a European scenario that wants to strengthen connections and the energy market. It's an issue that regards renewables - but not only – and is very important in a country that firstly, has a particular shape, such as the Italian peninsula, and secondly has a mix of renewable generation that differs in the North and South. The second issue concerns innovations that are possible today in Italy in the management of local networks, where the integration of renewable energy sources and storage systems can lead to very competitive solutions from an economic and environmental point of view.
5) Our Italian TSO partner is Terna. Can you give us an example of good cooperation between Legambiente and Terna - currently or in the past?
The most positive result of the cooperation with Terna in recent years is the direct relationship. It has helped us overcome misunderstandings brought on by limited project information – a situation that, unfortunately, happens very often in the Italian procedure of approval of infrastructures. The possibility of meeting up with each other helped us tackle some already approved projects and the conflicts that also involved our local groups and local committees. And we even started a cooperation on new projects that we hope could lead in the future to reduction of problems of this type and perhaps even bring us to a positive experience that we could share with the other partners of RGI.