The island of Ustica is a soil and rock spur of 8,5 km2 located in the southern Tyrrhenian Sea, about 36 nautical miles from the coast of Palermo, 95 km north-west far from Alicudi and 67 km north-west from Palermo. The island has a submarine morphology full of peaks, ravines, caves and tunnels, offering some of the most beautiful backdrops of the Mediterranean sea, for the richness of flora and fauna. The climate is typical of the Mediterranean area, with average annual rainfall of around 500 mm, distributed for about 60 days a year, with a higher concentration during the fall and winter.
There are several connections between the island and the port of Palermo, by hydrofoil and ships. Ustica has a resident population of 1,287 inhabitants.

Productive activities and inhabitants

The island sources of income are tourism, fishing and agriculture. The main industry is represented by the lentils of Ustica, cultivated since ages on lava soil and fertile island. The primary sector is present with some productions common to all Sicily (such as vegetables, grapes and other fruits); modest is the presence of livestock.


The Ustica Municipality, with adherence to the "Covenant of Mayors", decided to go towards sustainable development and to fight against climate changes at the local level, in order to achieve the goals set by the European Union for the reduction of greenhouse gases. The effort of Ustica Municipality is aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020, at the preparation of an action plan on energy and at the involvement of citizens through events on the topics of energy efficiency.
Given the almost total absence of water sources on the island, there is a desalination plant that produces 0.12 million cubic meters per year of desalinated water.


To date, Ustica is one of the Italian islands still not connected to the national grid, and in order to produce energy it uses mostly fossil fuel. In the Action Plan for sustainable energy, ratified in January 2015, the City has the following objectives for the next two years:

  • involve private operators in energy efficiency initiatives of public facilities, and in construction of plants for renewable energy;
  • promote information and active involvement of the population;
  • present, on a biennial basis, a report on the implementation of interventions, including the monitoring and verification - MEI (Monitoring Emission Inventory).

The municipality made an inventory of emissions related to the different energy suppliers of the island. The analysis showed the energy demand of the island amounted to 13,311 MWh per year (which correspond to 5032 tCO2), with a higher demand in the transport sector (31%) and total absence of energy production from renewable sources.


The City of Ustica has joined the "Covenant of Mayors", an initiative promoted by the European Commission with the aim of involving the European Cities in the path of energy and environmental sustainability by pursuing the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol.




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.