Pantelleria is an island located in the middle of the Strait of Sicily, 110 km south-west from Sicily and 70 east-northeast from Tunisia. Pantelleria is the first island of Sicily for territorial extension and the fifth among the Italian islands, covering an area of ​​around 80 km². The island reaches an altitude of 836 m above the sea level with the Big Mountain. The climate is Mediterranean, tempered by sea winds blowing in every season: mainly sirocco and mistral. Pantelleria is characterized by volcanic origin landscape, in which natural elements (tablelands of lava flows, volcanic cones, coves and cliffs) are added to the typical artifacts - such as dry stone wall, Pantelleria’s gardens and the “dammusi” (typical buildings housing in lava stone) - whose function is to exploit the natural characteristics of the site to mark the farmland, protect plants from wind and salt, defend the houses from heat and collect rainwater. The territory is characterized by a morphology quite bumpy and large areas with environmental and landscape restrictions; the natural water resources are particularly limited but the island presents interesting potential for geothermal and solar resources exploitation.

Productive activites and inhabitants

The island has about 7.000 inhabitants, but in summer the population doubles, reaching 14.000 people. The island's economy is based on agriculture, especially grapes and caper cultivation. Regarding the vine cultivation of the grapes, Zibibbo and sweet wines such as Moscato and Passito di Pantelleria are quite famous in the world. In November 26, 2014 in Paris, UNESCO declared the agricultural practice of growing Zibibbo grapes sapling, typical of Pantelleria, a World Heritage Site.
The fishing is poorly practiced, while the activities connected with tourism are increasing, especially in summer. The island has a good hotel accommodation system, and each year attracts a fair number of tourists, mostly italians. Also significant is the contribution to the local economy driven by numerous public figures, Italians and foreigners, who own in Pantelleria the characteristic “dammusi”.


Pantelleria stands as a model of renewable energy production and management, with possibility of being repeated it in other similar contexts, in Italy and Europe.
Pantelleria intends, in fact, to pursue actions to reduce emissions, aiming at reaching environmental and energetic sustainability: the keys are innovative technologies not impacting on the territory, either from an environmental perspective or from the landscape point of view. Regarding the Renewable Energy: wind resources, solar and geothermal are present in abundance; for those reasons Pantelleria could become an outstanding example for the construction of entirely sustainable community project.
For its natural characteristics, Pantelleria has as a goal an environmental friendly policy of energy efficiency and renewable energy production.
The 50% of energy consumption on the island are to be attributed to the transport sector, one third of the electrical use is due to residential users, while just over a quarter can be attributed to the supply of tourist services, agriculture and industrial activities. Half of the annual consumption of liquid fuels, both for transport and those reserved to the power plant, takes place between June and September. In order to optimize energy consumption in the mobility sector, Pantelleria is leading the group of Western Sicily smaller islands in the plan of sustainable internal mobility preparation. In the plan the goal is to introduce a fleet of vehicles and electric buses for city transportation and a bike-sharing service.
Finally, with regard to waste management, in the island a door to door service of waste collection is active, supported by a public policy of citizens awareness on the issue.


The island is not connected to the national grid, the electricity is produced locally through of a diesel power plant. The electricity consumption per capita is over 30% higher than the national average (1,500 kWh against 1.200 kWh), and the domestic electricity demand seems still growing up faster than on the mainland. In order to optimize the energy resources use, and minimize power consumption, the Municipality has made an integrated plan aiming at energy efficiency and energy production/management from renewable sources.
In addition, the Municipality has developed a series of efficiency measures on schools, to achieve thermal transmission reduction through an integrated system by coating façades with natural materials, window frames with thermal insulation and roof garden. Another goal is to obtain buildings energy independence through the introduction of integrated high-performance solar panels to the roof garden.


The Municipality has implemented a system of energy production from the sea waves (the first in the Mediterranean), in cooperation with Turin Polytechnic, CNR and Enea. The first system, called "Posidonia", started in July 2015, it has an estimated output of 250 MWh per year (the needs of about 90 families) and is located northwest of the island, 800 meters from the coast. The adopted technology for the energy production is constituted by a float system with dimensions equal to 8x15 m, 4 m sunk and 1 m protrudes from the sea level. The system is secured by a floating mooring, with four anchor points. Since the system has an innovative nature, there is a plan for the noise system and “Posidonia” development monitoring.
Another project funded at European level is SINGULAR, developed together with the Canary and the Azore islands, which operates in the renewable energy management. The project aims to define network codes aimed at proper management of renewable energy sources, to respond to the differences in utilities consumption. The system provides the possibility to identify the inputs location of new plants from renewable in such a way in order not to create phenomena of unbalance in the distribution, and thus allow diversified ways of accumulation.


SOURCES: SMAU Firenze 2015 | Il soleatrecentosessantagradi Enea 2011 | |


Download the PAES (Sustainable Energy Action Plan) of Ustica Island.

Smart Island is a project funded by the Ministry of Education, University and Research and carried out by CNR IIA which aims to find solutions to increase energy efficiency, economic and environmental sustainability of the whole system of production, management, distribution and use of the island of Lampedusa.