Geothermal Energy in Larderello: The Past meets the Future
In 1905 construction began of the world's first geothermal power station in Larderello, Tuscany. In 1913 it started producing electrical energy, thus harnessing the abundant geothermal heat associated with the Tuscan volcanic fields. For years Italy remained the sole producer of geothermal electrical power and still is leading in this technology. In 2006 the power stations of Larderello, Travale and Monte Amiata producde 1,5% of the electricity generated within Italy.
When visiting the area one is confronted with contrasts between old and new: Well preserved, traditional Tuscan villages, perched on hilltops, contrast with the paraphernalia of high technology. Sheep and cattle graze peacefully amongst cooling towers and pipelines.
Larderello old and new
Larderello: Pipeline and cooling towers
The daily showtime for tourists...
...is very, very noisy!
Castelnuovo and cooling tower
Castelnuovo from below
San Lorenzo a Montalbano
Steam from the ground
Twin towers at Castelnuovo
From steam to electricity
"Pastorale" near Castelnuovo
Time standing still...
...even for the herd animals...
...as they are watched by the sheepdog
Power station and steam condensors of the modern type
Transforming the electrical power to high voltage
While industry uses geothermal power...
...solar energy is also harnessed in traditional ways.
|Photos Jürg Alean, April 2005|