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  • Writer's pictureHenri Caron

A2A plugs cities to an energy revolution

Big cities: buildings, highways, railroads, streets, parks, theaters, night life. It is an old landscape. What has changed?

Water used to be for drinking and bathing; it had to be clean and widely distributed. Now, water is also recycled and its steam used for heating.

What about waste? It was supposed to be disposed of and you wouldn’t have to know about its existence. Not anymore. Today waste is an important resource of power generation.

A lot is changing right now. And the change is happening in the air, water, waste. It is a transformation that is reshaping energy as we know it. Energy is everywhere, it is valuable, we need to treat it gently, keep it, store it, salvage it. A2A is at the forefront of this energy revolution, making it happen in Italy.

A2A SpA is an Italian company dedicated to providing services to improve life in cities and suburban areas, using technology and new energy models, which are more balanced and sustainable.

Listed on the Milan stock Exchange and member of the FTSE MIB index,the company was born on January 1 2008 out of the merger of municipal companies Azienda Eletrica Municipale di Milano or AEM and Azienda dei Servizi Municipaliizzati of Brescia, both companies holding 25% shareholding of A2A Spa each. The remaining shares are held by institutional shareholders (49.2%) and in treasury shares (0.8%). Year on year A2A SpA grew revenues 12.04% from 5.80bn to 6.49bn while net income improved 17.41% from 293.00m to 344.00m.

One of the company’s core business is power generation through its three plants with an installed capacity of 1,900 MW. A2A provides electricity and gas distribution services to 2.4 million households, major industrial players, small- to mid-size businesses, condominium communities, and professionals through a grid of 23,000 km.

According to the International Energy Agency (IAE) electricity is the fastest-growing source of final energy demand, and over the next 25 years its growth is set to outpace energy consumption as a whole. The power sector now attracts more investment than oil and gas combined. However, the global electricity supply is also being transformed by the rise of variable renewable sources of generation such as wind and solar PV. Renewable power capacity is set to expand by 50% between 2019 and 2024, led by solar PV according to the Agency.

A2A has set a strategic plan to move to renewable sources of energy (solar and wind) through capital investments and acquisitions.

Accounting for 50% of global final energy consumption in 2018, heat is the largest energy end-use says the IEA. Remote heating is a reliable and efficient solution to heat buildings in an environmentally friendly way, a service in which A2A holds a leading position. Serving 25,000 establishments, with 27 heat production plants A2A has designed and implemented heat production and conduction in the Milan, Brescia, and Bergamo areas.

Heating is produced through plants that utilize renewably sourced energy, co-generation, or plants that recoup heat from industrial processes and through waste processing. Energy, whether produced or salvaged, heats water, which is then distributed to homes through insulated steel pipes equipped with an automatic service-interruption monitoring and localization sensor. Traditional boilers are therefore replaced with a thermal exchanger that allows for the heat in the water at the distribution plant inside the building to heat the interiors, and to produce non-potable hot water for use in bathrooms.

Waste management services provide another example of the synergetic business model. A2A serves 1.5 million residents in 84 municipalities: from street cleaning to integrated waste management, from salvaging materials to recouping energy, industrial waste (hazardous and non-hazardous).

Water management services facilitate an integrated water cycle (aqueduct, sewers, and purification) in the Municipality of Brescia, as well as in most of the province. Production sources include 175 wells, 188 sources and springs; distribution of approximately 49 million cubic metres a year through a development network running 3,546 kilometers.

Through Smart City, A2A relies on technology to ensure that every inch of water and kilowatt of power is properly used or reutilized. Connectivity tools and regional sensors allow to monitor natural gas and water usage, to manage heat and energy usage in buildings, to monitor car park occupancy levels, or the fill levels of public rubbish bins, but also safety in the city, smart lighting, industrial automation.

Also, with A2A’s Emoving services, and its network of 500 stations all over Milan, Bergamo, Brescia charging your electric vehicle has never been easier.

There is a profound change happening in cities driven by technology and sustainability in the way energetic resources are used. This transformation is also reshaping the power business, paving the way for opportunities and new ideas.

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