by Fiorenzo Dadò*
Until recently, talking about the energy crisis in Ticino was almost taboo, because it was the general opinion to believe that thanks to the water reserve of the artificial lakes located in the valleys, we were safe. Unfortunately the reality is quite different. Although the question is complex and Ticino’s room for maneuver is quite limited, it is legitimate to ask whether the cantonal energy policy, pursued in recent decades by the Government with the endorsement of the Grand Council, has been far-sighted and whether remedial measures are currently being taken with the due diligence.
Several years ago, in 2011, with the deputies Foletti, Maggi, Pinoja, Schnellmann and Stojanovic, I proposed a motion entitled Energy in Ticino: a round table on pumping at Verzasca is urgently needed. The same requested that a discussion table be brought together between all the interested parties in order to carry out a general feasibility study for a pumping station at Verzasca within six months. The reason, still valid, has also recently aroused the interest of the PLR group, after the menavia was given to us in 2015 in Parliament. From a federal study of 1972 it clearly emerges that a pumping-turbine plant at Verzasca, sized on 200 MW of power, presents very favorable technical conditions. Added to this are other advantages: it is potentially not in conflict with the territory because it does not require any new reservoir or dam raising, as well as having all the water needed at any time, pumping directly from Verbano. A pumping system with this flexibility is not feasible everywhere, among other things it would make it possible to “store” the excess energy produced in our house on sunny days (which is abundant in Ticino), with the intention of seriously encouraging photovoltaic systems, today more than ever urgent and necessary.
A disappointing photovoltaic policy
On 22 November last year, with colleagues Marco Passalia for the Centro Group, Sabrina Aldi and Bruno Buzzini for the Lega dei Ticinesi Group, Alessandro Speziali and Alessandra Gianella for the PLR Group, we presented a motion entitled: For a real promotion of solar energy in Ticino: fair remuneration for electricity for individuals who install a photovoltaic system on the roof of their home. The motivation is simple: currently the construction of these plants is slow because they cost too much and the electricity produced is not sufficiently remunerated by the electricity companies, which resell it dearly, making considerable profits.
The response we received on June 8 from the Government, despite the fine words on ecology and indigenous energy supply, is disappointing. It makes us understand how many interests are at stake and that within the Administration there are some pockets of harmful static nature, which block the country. This case makes it clear, as it already should have been with the Verzasca pumping plant in 2011, that politics must once again take center stage, courageously taking over the reins of decisions in the face of opportunities, putting collective interests before general immobilism .
*Chairman of the Centre/PPD