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Open AccessArticle

Territorial Energy Decentralisation and Ecosystem Services in Italy: Limits and Potential

Department of Planning, Design and Technology of Architecture, Sapienza University, 00185 Rome, Italy
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Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1424; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041424
Received: 31 December 2019 / Revised: 29 January 2020 / Accepted: 12 February 2020 / Published: 14 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure and Spatial Planning)
This article focuses on the complex relationships between energy processes and ecosystem services. It highlights the conflicts between them due to the anthropocentric value that characterizes their interrelationship. The article reports the initial results of ongoing research on energy decentralization processes in Italy, examining the Italian districts heating performance, concerning ecosystem provisioning and regulating services. The analysis is based on a sample of more than 150 Italian district-heating systems. Contrary to studies that positively evaluate processes of energy decentralization, the results of the research show some critical factors and impacts. An efficiency gap between districts heating and traditional energy systems emerged. The data processed show a critical situation in the development of local networks, highlighting that the decentralized energy model is not deeply rooted in the local area and is poorly characterized by shared governance, which instead would benefit from the integration of ecosystem services. The significant presence of large energy groups and the considerable use of fossil sources in Italy reduces the effectiveness of the decentralization of energy systems. The article presents some conclusive considerations, which outline some general guidelines for proceeding towards a more correct relationship with ecosystem services and greater integration with the territories. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecosystem services; energy decentralization; district heating; urban planning; energy transition ecosystem services; energy decentralization; district heating; urban planning; energy transition
MDPI and ACS Style

De Pascali, P.; Santangelo, S.; Perrone, F.; Bagaini, A. Territorial Energy Decentralisation and Ecosystem Services in Italy: Limits and Potential. Sustainability 2020, 12, 1424.

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