The aim of waste-to-energy is to reduce the amount of waste being disposed of in landfills, while harnessing energy in an environmentally friendly manner. This practice is gaining in importance across the whole of Europe, both as part of an integrated waste management, and in diversifying energy sources in order to exploit domestic resources and cut down on fossil fuel imports.
Enel’s Fusina plant is a model to be followed: over the last few years the facility has increasingly used waste-to-energy alongside coal combustion to produce affordable electricity. After having signed an agreement with Ecoprogetto Venezia, the Fusina plant will receive 70,000 tonnes of Refuse-Derived Fuel, equivalent to the amount produced by 150,000 of Venice’s inhabitants.
Together with waste-to-energy incineration, the other way of reducing the environmental impact of waste is recycling. Through projects like the Ecoelce, which is being carried out in Brazil by the Group subsidiary Coelce, Enel has also made huge strides regarding environmental protection.
The Ecoelce project offers discounts on electricity bills (even to the point of eliminating any cost at all) for customers who sort their own refuse before taking it to special collection centres organised by the Enel Group.
The main benefit of the initiative – which the United Nations has included in a worldwide top ten of projects that are helping the reaching of the Millennium Development Goals – is the direct involvement of local people, who are the ones to have made it successful. At present around 420,000 customers are involved in the project, bringing a current total of 13,600 tonnes of recyclable waste to the collecting centres and receiving discounts on their electricity bills worth some $800,000.