Bonifiche Ferraresi: Europe's first smart agricultural district

Published on Wednesday, 11 October 2017

“The project proposed to Bonifiche Ferraresi is undoubtedly highly innovative and projected toward the future of the electricity market. A market that will change dramatically in both the short and medium term and that calls us to use tools that are completely different from the ones used up to now”

– Massimiliano Francone, Business-to-Business and Business-to-Government, Country Italy at Enel X

As Francone explains, “our company has made available all the technologies developed at Enel to the partnership with Bonifiche Ferraresi to develop energy self-consumption, both from a technical and financial point of view, coordinating consumption and production behaviours in a sustainable and efficient manner."

A turnkey package

The solutions offered to Bonifiche Ferraresi include the installation of two photovoltaic plants, of 200 and 500 KW respectively, combined with electric storage, consisting of a 100-KW Tesla battery, to generate and self-consume electricity during the day, store it when it is not needed and make it available to the grid when it is most convenient.

This system also integrates a recharging infrastructure for electric mobility, formed by 3 charging stations of the traditional type and one of bidirectional type, i.e., the Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology developed by Enel in which electric cars are charged and can also be used as electrical storage to support and balance the electrical grid

“With this project, the e-Solutions Global Business Line has proven to be a single, go-to partner for the customer for all aspects relating to energy, broadening the offering with value added services ”

– Massimiliano Francone, Business-to-Business and Business-to-Government, Country Italy at Enel X

The offering also includes long-term renting services for 5 electric vehicles and 20 electric bikes, in addition to the simple commodity, with the supply of electricity from the grid and of methane gas.

An approach to the demand response market

With this project, we are poised to access the field of value-added energy services in the new demand response dimension, with considerable development opportunities for agricultural businesses, as well as for all small, medium and large consumers.

This broadening of the range is the result of the opening of what is called the demand response market, as explained by Francone: “Imagine, in a near future, what will happen when tens of thousands of electric cars will need to charge up: we will have energy flows that will have to be managed on the grid. And in this new context, a customer like Bonifiche Ferraresi can sell the energy it has produced from photovoltaic systems and stored, or offer grid balancing or voltage and frequency adjustment services."

“We cannot stop the major changes that are coming to the electricity market. We need to tackle them, instead, with energy, flexibility and a great innovative spirit. To seize every opportunity”

– Massimiliano Francone, Business-to-Business and Business-to-Government, Country Italy at Enel X

Innovation and sustainability from energy to the field

As part of the partnership with Bonifiche Ferraresi, our Group has also made available its innovation ecosystem, taking the company's managers to our Tel Aviv innovation hub. Bonifiche Ferraresi had the opportunity to evaluate start-ups in different fields to search for the most appropriate solutions for the company's needs. At the end, three startups were selected for the farm holding to start other partnerships. Among these, one is already operational and provides for the implementation of a system of sensors that monitor irrigation and apply predictive algorithms to dose water to be used in irrigation, with savings of approximately 25% on water and energy consumption.

As Ernesto Ciorra, Director of Innovation and Sustainability at Enel, explains, “Enel has helped Bonifiche Ferraresi along the path to innovation and has been aided by Bonifiche Ferraresi in understanding the special needs of agriculture. It is a model that we would like to extend to as many companies as possible because innovation in the field of energy applies to all sectors and because all sectors can benefit from our articulated open ecosystem of Innovation Hubs."

It is a vision and a multidisciplinary approach that, on 10th October, earned the project that brings Enel and Bonifiche Ferraresi together the special "Best in class" prize at the 15th edition of the Sodalitas Social Award: it is the most prestigious Italian accolade for companies and organizations, which, with their initiatives, lead the way to a sustainable future through the promotion of economic growth combined with the values of sustainable development, innovation and social inclusion.


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