Energy crisis: impact on user activities at Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste

In 2022 all key performance indicators at Elettra and FERMI were above pre-COVID levels. However, a new emergency will be affecting our operations. As you may have heard, the unprecedentedly high cost of electric energy and gas may force a substantial reduction in the number of operating hours of all particle accelerators in Europe. Elettra and FERMI will be no exception. Our accelerators consume 32 GWh of electric energy per year from the national grid and our two high-efficiency trigeneration plants consume 5.5 million Smc of gas per year to provide uninterruptible electric power, heating and cooling to our systems. In 2022 we were able to use fixed-price contracts to maintain energy costs under control and continue normal operations. 

Unfortunately, fixed-price contracts for electric energy and gas are unavailable for 2024 and projected energy costs for next year are about twice as high as the available budget for energy. In September 2022 we have requested additional funds in order to maintain normal operations. However, to date, we have no evidence that new resources will be forthcoming. 

As a result, the Board of Directors of Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste has decided to curtail accelerator operations in order to remain within the available budget. We will schedule only 50% of the normal user beamtime in the first semester of 2024 by prolonging throughout most of the winter months the usual January shutdown. Normal operations for both Elettra and FERMI will start again at the end of April and continue in May and June. Although we have prepared a tentative schedule for the second semester with a similar 50% reduction of accelerator operations, we hope that the new initiatives taking place at the national and European level to curb energy costs will allow us to adopt a better operation schedule in the second semester. 

Due to the reduced schedule in the first semester, beamtime will be available for users starting at the end of April and continuing in May and June 2024. Regretfully, this beamtime shortage will prevent many good proposals from having beamtime allocated in the first semester, but hopefully, with the opening of the next call, such proposals can be resubmitted. For the second semester 2024 the situation will be re-examined in April.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 March 2024 09:55