EIB to finance construction of small hydro facilities in Italy’s Tuscany region
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The European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union, is to provide 49 million euros to Iniziative Bresciane S.p.A (INBRE) to finance the construction of 12 small hydroelectric plants and the restoration of 13 weirs on the Arno river in Italy’s Tuscany region, the bank said.

   The 12 plants with a total combined capacity of 10 MW will produce 55 GWh of power every year, enough to meet the needs of nearly 22,600 households. In the construction phase, considerable attention will be paid to systems aimed at preventing flooding in four Tuscany municipalities — Sieci, Compiobbi, San Niccolò and Isolotto.

   “We are proud that the EIB — the climate bank — is supporting high-value projects with long-term benefits in Italy, alongside a company with strong connections to the local area and those living there,” said EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti.

    “Fostering the development of an energy ecosystem in line with our goals and those of the European Union will be key to successfully combatting climate change.”

    Specialised in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as infrastructure, innovative and environmental projects, the EIB invested 23 billion euros in Italy in 2019-2020.

    Hydroelectric power is a critical business sector for Iniziative Bresciane S.pA. (INBRE). Active in the sector since 1996, it launched an Initial Public Offering in 2014 on the Milan stock exchange’s Euronext Growth facility, which lists shares of small and medium-sized companies. In the period 2015-2020, the installed capacity of small hydro stations owned by INBRE more than doubled from 22.6 MW to 48.1 MW.

    In 2020, the share of hydropower in Italy’s power generation balance stood at 17 %, according to data from the BP Statistical Review. By way of comparison: the share of gas stood at 48 %, renewables 25 % and other types of power stations, including coal-fired and fuel-oil-diesel, 10 %.

   According to data from Terna, the operator of Italy’s electricity grid, a total of 4,503 hydroelectric plants were operating in Italy in 2020 with a total installed capacity of 18.98 GW. Of those plants, 5 % had a capacity of less than 1 MW, 14 % had a capacity of 1 MW to 10 MW and 81 % were stations with a capacity exceeding 10 MW.

    Small hydropower stations are becoming more widespread in Russia.

    In 2020, RusHydro, the utility responsible for hydropower, brought on stream three stations in the Northern Caucasus, the Verkhnebalkarskaya station (capacity 10 MW), the Ust-Dzhegutinskaya station (5.6 MW) and the Barsuchkovskaya station (5.25 MW).

    To date, also in southern Russia, the company has two Krasnogorskaya stations under construction (total capacity of 49 MW) and two stations in the planning stage – the Psygansu station (23.4 MW) and the Bashennaya station (10 MW).

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