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Biomass power plant (20MW) in Luns with PV (50 kW). © Stadtwerke Bruneck

Brunico is a small town with over 15,000 inhabitants located in the region of Val Pusteria in South Tyrol. The principal scope of this CNA was to create a district heating system enabling the community to produce more electricity and heat than required by the residents. Specifically, the town's energy is a combination of five different technologies based on renewable energies (solar thermal, solar photovolatic, biomass, biogas and mini hydropower).

I Description of the measure

Title in original language: Brunico Città Rinnovabile al 100%

Location of CNA: Italy

Municipality / regional entity: Brunico (BZ)

Category of the experience: Strategy
Type(s) of CNA:

Principal nomination: Technological

Thematic field(s):

Principal field: Energy 
Secondary field(s): Land use, Industry & services

Spatial scale: Local
Time & duration:

Start date: Since 2003 (only the old hydroelectric plant dates back to 1990).
Duration: ongoing

Key word(s): Innovation, renewable energies, sustainability


Cover 100 % of energy needs of the local population through an optimal and integrated exploitation of all available renewable energies (solar thermal and photovoltaic, biomass, biogas, hydropower) in the area. Ensuring an extremely short supply chain of renewable sources (almost zero kilometer). Adopt new building regulations able to ensure high efficiency in new buildings and renovations. Educating local people (and tourists) to a more efficient and sustainable lifestyle. Create an examplary city with high organization and cooperation. Make a best-practice ... a minimum standard.


The plant for renewable energies in Brunico consists of: 2 thermal power plants (Lunes and St. George) with 3 biomass boilers (8 +8 +4 MW); 1 biogas boiler (solid municipal waste) of 1.5 MW; 3 plants CHP (3 x 1.5 MWe, 3x1, 7 MWt); 2 natural gas boilers for tips and reserves (8 +8 MW) and 1 oil boiler for emergencies (8 MW); 840 m2 of solar collectors on roofs of public and private buildings; 1 solar system (at School centre) with vacuum tube collectors (750 m2) for heating at low temperature and underfloor panels.


Primary energy production: over 145,000 m3/year of biomass used (wood chips, sawdust, bark) of purely local origin. 650,000 cubic meters of biogas (landfill gas from local solid municipal waste disposal). About 1900 users connected to district heating network (households, tourism and public) with a sale of heat of about 110 million kWh / year. Production of electricity from cogeneration, solar and hydro power for about 80 MWh / year (57 MWh / year of hydropower: 40 in Kniepass and 17 in Gais; 15-20 MWh / year from cogeneration; 5 MWh / year PV) and distribution to over 22,000 local users through a completely underground network which stretches for about 900 Km. (Data source: Agency Publiservizi Brunico)

II Assessment criteria

Mini-hydropower plant in Gais. © Stadtwerke Bruneck

Mitigation effects: High

The combined use of different renewable energies produces an overall positive impact on climate change mitigation due to the significant reduction of atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases compared to traditional energy supply solutions (gas and diesel). The production of heat and electricity from renewable sources used in Brunico is estimated as equivalent to the substitution of 16 million liters / year of diesel and the reduction of 35,000 tons (net) of CO2 (Data source: Publiservizi Brunico Agency).

Impacts on adaptation: Positive

As a matter of fact, the correct use of biomass could generate a potential positive impact on the resilience of the local forests. This impact can be minimized or increased by adopting a 'careful and planned management of all forest areas subject to exploitation. Biomass and water resources are exploited according to sustainability criteria both to guarantee the natural resilience capability.

Impacts on environment:

- Landscape: Positive
- Alpine ecosystems / biodiversity: Positive
- Water / soil / air: Positive
- "Other": None

In order to reduce the potential environmental impacts, sustainability criteria in the exploitation of renewable energy sources have been integrated in the municipal building regulations. Special attention was given to the correct use of biomass for energetic purposes adopting a careful and planned preservation and management of all the local forest areas subject to the exploitation so as to safeguard forestry ecosystems and local biodiversity. The production of fine particles generated in the biomass plant is particularly low due to the better abatement technology adopted.

Impacts on society:

- Social justice: Very positive
- Regional / cultural identity: Very positive
- "Other": None

The renewable energy technology systems and the new concept of energy supply and consumption adopted in the town of Brunico, in particular through the district heating network, have been greeted with enthusiasm by the local population. Already in the preliminary stage (July-December 2000), in fact, as much as 90 % of the possible and potential customers of the district heating network is contractually committed to be connected to the new service, simplifying the necessary design and construction of distribution network in individual areas of the city.

Impacts on economy:

- Employment / job creation: Positive
- Added value / income: Very positive
- Know how / competitiveness: Positive
- "Other": Positive

In addition to the creation of new jobs, the additional benefits for the economy are: the possible reduction of costs for the end user of energy supply compared to traditional fuels (gas and diesel); the advantages made available today by the Italian government for the exploitation of renewable energy sources (White Certificates and Energy Bill) which can be a budget item of interest for companies involved in the management of various plant systems and for the same local government .

Public relations impact and awareness-raising: Very high

In 2011 the town of Brunico, South Tyrol's first city between 5 and 20 000 inhabitants, received an important award "European Energy Award-EEA" as a virtuous example of a 100% renewable municipality. With this award, the willingness of Brunico to plan and carry out a proper and effective energy policy aimed at the future and based on the organization and cooperation between public and private bodies has been recognised.

Transferability: High

High transferability to all areas of the Alpine region which have, as Brunico, a small territorial and social dimension (max 10'000-20'000 inhabitants) and which can ensure the simultaneous availability of an appropriate local mix of renewable energy sources (solar thermal, photovolatic solar, biomass, biogas and mini-hydro), accessible with extremely short supply chains. Moreover, the possibility of exploiting also the source of geothermal plants with a heat pump, not currently implemented in Brunico, should be considered.

Cross sectoral and integrative approach: High

The example of Brunico is particularly relevant. Brunico was among the first Italian municipalities that signed the Climate Alliance, taking a concrete step towards carbon neutrality and demonstrating with facts its commitment to improving the life quality of local people in respect of the environment.

Good governance: High

The participatory approach to this CNA was very large by all interested stakeholers: Municipality of Brunico Brunico Publiservizi Company, Local Media, Schools, Population.

III Executive body and contact information

Executive body: Administration

Municipality of Brunico

Contact person(s):

Name: -
Institution: Comune di Brunico
Address: Piazza Muncipio, 1 Brunico Bolzano
Phone: +39 0474545454
Fax: +39 0474 545455
Email: [email protected]

Other contact persons:

Other contact person: Dr. Waltraud Deeg [email protected]

Online information:

Reports, documents and technichal data about "Brunico renewable 100% City" are available on the following web-sites:;;;;; http://;

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