Thursday, 27 Nov, 2008 Environment
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Vatican Shows Interest in Energy Sources

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As it turned out, the Vatican invocates not only salvation of our souls, but also environmental friendliness and efficient use of power resources. On Wednesday, it launched a new solar-powered system which could serve as an alternative energy source, reported Reuters.

The innovation included 2,400 photovoltaic panels which covered the 5,000 square meter roof of the "Nervi Hall". This building is used for giving audiences and performing concerts. Now it is supplied with energy necessary for heating, lighting as well as air conditioning. The roof is rather wavy which makes solar panels invisible from the ground. According to church officials, St. Peter's Basilica will stay unchanged.

The system had been tested for several weeks before it was put into operation at full capacity and allowed Pope Benedict to hold the "first ecological general audience in the Vatican", as officials call it. Due to the new system, 300 megawatt hours of energy will be produced a year which is enough for the "Nervi Hall" and neighboring buildings. Besides, it will be possible to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 225 tons. Therefore 80 tons of oil will be preserved each year.

It's worth mentioning that German enterprises SolarWorld and SMA Solar Technology elaborated and donated the system priced at 1.2 million euro.

"This is a very courageous initiative," said Carlo Rubbia, who won Nobel Prize in physics in 1984 and was invited to the official opening in the Vatican. As he said at the ceremony, the sun preserves 100,000 times the energy provided by terrestrial energy sources, that's why it necessary to investigate this field of science and to invest researches which have a direct connection with our future.

The Vatican is going to continue its activity. As Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, the governor of Vatican City said the state was considering a new plan which was even more ambitious than the previous one. It's connected with the use of land to the North of Roma, which belongs to the Vatican and serves as a broadcasting center managed by Vatican Radio. Thanks to the new project the place called Santa Maria di Galeria can become an alternative exporter of energy.

"We are thinking of a solar energy system on 300 hectares (740 acres) at the site," said Giovanni Lajolo.

Pier Carlo Cuscianna, head of technical services for Vatican City, noted that as a result of this project it would be possible to get six times the energy necessary for activating transmission antennas. According to Cuscianna, it's "just an idea" at the present moment, but he really hopes this project will move to the development stage in the course of time.

As officials report, more retrievable power sources will be installed to cover 20 percent of the Vatican needs by 2020 in accordance with a suggestion made by the European Union.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE4AP50M20081126?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0
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