In 1951, after World War II, the idea of Europe begins with the birth of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).
Today the European Union (EU) is a completely different institution, but the importance and the impact of the coal in the italian and european energetic production is still strong, despite new technologies and many alternatives.
Worldwide, even now the 44% of the world CO2 emissions are related to coal burning processes. Germany is the 7th major importer of coal for energy production in the world, Poland produce the great majority of his energy from thermal coal plants, and in Italy the coal burning processes are growing together with renewable energies.
Brindisi, Civitavecchia, La Spezia, Vado Ligure: these four cities host the biggest and most problematic thermoelectric coal plants in Italy.
The area of the big plants is explored, dismantled, observed in order to understand the impact and the permanent presence of the coal energy production on the italian territory, focusing on landscape, environment, and geopolitical issues.
M. is born in a family of farmers in Cerano (Brindisi), in the italian south.
The main income of his family is related to the artichokes cultivation. Their farmland ends right before the coal warehouse.
The farms in the area are highly damaged by the impact of the coal plant and the 12km long conveyor belt, that links the plant to the port, where the coal arrives by sea.
The port of Civitavecchia was founded during the roman empire in 108 A.D. and is one of the most ancient harbour in Europe.
The strategic relevance of the commercial port was one of the reasons that has determined the conversion in 2010 of the local oil-fired energy plant to a coal-fired one.
The impact of the coal arriving by cargo ships is catastrophic for all the flora and fauna of the Tirrenian sea.
G. is a craftsman who lived for years inside the “May Day” squat, inside the area of the Enel coal plant in La Spezia.
The area of the squat was the dining hall of the factory, and actually it hosts a little community, some workshops and social activities.
Until the first part of the XX century the area of Fossamastra, the dock of the actual coal plant, was a marsh between the hills and the coastline. The main activities of Fossamastra were mussels farming and beach resorts. During ‘900 most of the gulf of La Spezia was converted in commercial harbor and shipyards.
The coal plant of Vado Ligure was closed in 2014 for a judicial procedure related to the air pollution in the area of Savona (Liguria).
Situated in an highly populated coastline area, this is the first case in Italy that a coal plant closes for pollution.
The little town is still intimidated by the presence of the two big smokestack, just behind the town center, and the big coal conveyor belt.
All the photos and text: © Pietro Viti, 2016
© OECD/IEA 2015 World Energy Outlook, IEA Publishing. Licence: www.iea.org/t&c
© WWF Italia - Dossier Carbone, dicembre_2014
© Enel Servizio Elettrico, produzione di energia elettrica in Italia