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Regulate the production of renewable energy on agricultural land

Regulate the production of renewable energy on agricultural land

The path towards a model of using renewable resources must go hand in hand with their eco-sustainability and the protection of rural and human systems.
Renewable energy and eco-sustainability are not consequential, indeed certain choices can satisfy one need and not the other.
The production of this form of energy must correspond to 5 fundamental requirements:
– it must be produced according to the Distributed Generation (GD) criterion, therefore with the construction of numerous small plants;
– must be produced without further soil consumption, as defined by both ISPRA and the relevant EU directives;
– it must be produced without affecting the rainfall regime and the run-off times of the runoff water, with consequent negative effects on the water regime and further soil loss;
– must be produced without subtracting agricultural land, in accordance with the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy of 2020, in order not to affect the already delicate question of the availability of food and resources for the next few years, to which Agenda 2030 dedicates in particular objectives 2, 7, 11, 12 and 15;
– finally, and last but not least, it must be produced without interfering with biodiversity, in accordance with the provisions of the EU Directive of 2020 on the subject.
At present, beyond the criteria dictated by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), there is no detailed National Energy Plan in the sector, a matter that requires not only an update of the previous Plan but clear, unambiguous and structured guidelines on the safeguarding of previous issues and on more complex issues than the simple EIA, as described in this contribution.
Ultimately, a Rural Energy Plan (PER) is needed, within a more complex National Energy Plan.

Rural Energy Plan –
The Rural Energy Plan must be structured guaranteeing the main principles of the 5 points mentioned above:
– the GD model must be structured in such a way as to achieve the production of electricity in self-production units of small dimensions dispersed or located in as many points as possible in the territory and connected directly to the electricity distribution network;
– small renewable energy plants (photovoltaic, wind, hydroelectric, etc.), thus dispersed throughout the territory, must be built with minimum land consumption, obviously favoring zero consumption (roofs, rest areas, processing areas, etc.);
– these plants must respect the objectives of a real agroecological transition that would become impracticable with the creation of mega plants on the ground, not compatible with the characteristics of natural habitats, but also for the subtraction of surfaces to be allocated to native species and races and safeguarding biodiversity in general, on which the Farm to Fork focuses.
Let’s see how this plan can be integrated with all these criteria and how it can also be appreciated by farms that certainly do not go through a favorable general moment for a whole series of very complex issues.
The priority objective must be that, subject to the previous conditions, to achieve two objectives for farms, which added together, must result in a substantial income integration. In this sense, the production of electricity, according to the GD criterion, must become a further service to be added to the multifunctionality of farms:
– the first objective must be that of the energy autonomy of the farm;
– the second objective must be, by applying the criterion of multifunctionality, the integration of the PLV through the sale of electricity.

Energy Autonomy Farm –
In the calculation of the energy autonomy of the farm, all the electrical utilities of the farm must be included but also all the power in Kw necessary for the machinery and tools for the management and processing of agricultural products. The sizing of this type of user must be encouraged to also stimulate the replacement of agricultural machines and tools that use fossil fuels.
It is emphasized that this line is also a significant incentive for the electric motorization industry.
The advantage of this choice is also that of avoiding the production of particulate matter in rural areas with pollution of soils, food, pollen, etc. which interferes not only with the wholesomeness of food and human health but also with ecosystems.
For the attribution of the Energy quota for company self-consumption, it is possible to proceed with parameters very similar to those used per hectare / crop and with calculation methods similar to those of Agricultural Engine Users (UMA) for the allocation of fuel at a subsidized price. .

Sale of Electricity –
Once the necessary quota for the electric autonomy of the company has been reached, in view of the criterion of the multifunctionality of company services, it is appropriate to allocate an amount of energy that can be produced to farms; here too, referring to precise parameters per hectare and crop and guaranteeing, however, electricity production, where not possible, on a minimum percentage of agricultural land.
The sale of this share of electricity, and therefore the sizing of the system, should then be related to the tax system of the agricultural entrepreneur, in the same way as the income of a farm is proportionate and related to certain business requirements.
By making a few calculations, it is clear that these are small plants, with very low, and in some cases zero, impact on the ecosystem but of considerable interest and attractiveness both to give oxygen to the income of farms that among the various products would sell electricity.
For what has been said so far, it is clear how:
– it is absolutely necessary that plants (especially photovoltaic) with a large subtraction of soil must be absolutely prohibited, projecting the farms and the territories on which they insist towards a real and far-reaching ecological transition;
– activate a series of tax and financial benefits starting from that Recovery Plan (PNNR) for a real agroecological transition.

Guido Bissanti

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