The Village of Tocco Makes Big Bucks with Wind Energy

With nations like Denmark and Germany declaring that they are aiming for 100% renewable energy, it is easy to think that the renewable energy bug is spreading through Europe like wildfire. Unfortunately, that is hardly the case as some countries take steps forward but still deal primarily in fossil fuels. Italy, despite some advancement on some renewable energy fronts, has been a bit behind compared to some of their European comrades. However, with each small step made could be the next big spark for green energy.

The small Italian village of Tocco da Casauria has been in the news recently as the shining example of how renewable energy has been taking hold in the Italian countryside. Located in the mountains on the eastern side of the Italian boot and situated about in the middle, Tocco is fairly small with a population barely peaking above 2,800 people and a history that stretches all the way back to the Roman Empire. However, where aqueducts may have been the latest technological marvel then, the four windmills powering the entire village are the talk of the town today.

The decision to convert to renewable energy was made by Tocco as a way of adapting to the growing prices of electricity throughout the nation. The first two of the wind turbine set were raised in 2007 with the final two going up sometime in 2009. Now, with all four turbines running Tocco has managed to turn a profit by selling the excess power they generate after powering the small town. According to some figures, Tocco generated an extra $200,000 from selling the extra electricity they generated last year. Using the funds, they were able to completely do away with local taxes and to take off the charges that were levied for certain town services. The renewable energy doesn’t stop flowing there: many town residents have begun installing solar panels on top of their homes and the town has installed some in the cemetery and on the sports facilities.

Though Tocco has gained international acclaim for their decision to adopt renewable energy, they are not alone in their decision to break away from the ridiculously expensive fossil fuel powered electricity services provided by the state. According to one figure, approximately 800 municipalities in Italy have begun generating a portion of their own power by using wind turbines or solar panels.

Overall, it is a pleasure to see communities like Tocco thriving with renewable energy right in their backyard. Unfortunately, Italy herself continues to receive criticism from the rest of the European Union for failing to make any large scale attempts at adopting renewable energy programs. If they continue to lag behind while countries in a similar situation like Portugal thrive, it may soon come down to Italy being the odd one out in Europe.

Photo Credit: Flickr