Progetto Italia was the first initiative undertaken by Eni in 2016 and represents the very beginning of the sector's efforts to develop renewables in Italy. The project aims to reclaim several industrial areas in Italy which cannot otherwise be used for other purposes, many of which have been regenerated by our environmental society Eni Rewind, and to create new synergies in the renewable energy sector.
In 2019, Eni's commitment in Italy was further strengthened thanks to its partnership with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, with which the company GreenIT is being set up, for the development of joint initiatives aimed at the construction of photovoltaic systems, minimising the consumption of land for other uses, including on areas of state property, particularly in the central-southern regions and the islands.
Since the start of the Italian initiative, installed capacity has grown constantly: from about 25 MW in 2018 to about 84 MW currently installed, an almost three-fold increase over the period. The 1 MW plant at the Green Data Center in Ferrera Erbognone (near Pavia) was the first opened as part of Progetto Italia. The energy produced there by the 2,968 photovoltaic modules on 106 string cables is entirely consumed on site by our supercomputers HPC5 and HPC4.
A significant step in our growth has been the opening of two photovoltaic plants in Sardinia: a first 23 MW plant in Assemini (outside Cagliari), completed in 2018, and a second 31 MW plant in Porto Torres (near Sassari), completed at the end of 2019 and opened at the beginning of 2020, the biggest plant built by Eni in Italy to date.
At Assemini production is expected to be around 35 GWh a year, and the energy generated by the solar panels installed will power about 70% of the total consumption for processing the salt produced by the company Ing. Conti Vecchi.
Production at the Porto Torres plant began at the end of 2019, whose yearly energy production is expected to reach almost 50 GWh, of which about 70% will be used by companies operating at the industrial site, resulting in a saving of around 26,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Through Eni New Energy, in July 2020 we also started power production from the new photovoltaic plant in Volpiano, with a total capacity of 18 MW. The plant, built on an industrial area of approximately 32 hectares, will generate over 27 GWh, 10% of which will supply energy to Eni’s site, reducing the use of electricity from the national grid by more than 50%. The remaining energy will be supplied to the market, without benefiting from incentive mechanisms. In addition, this initiative will prevent the emission of around 370,000 tonnes of CO2 over the service life of the plant, therefore contributing to the decarbonisation goals of Italy’s Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate.
As part of the projects to develop and convert industrial sites, in 2020 authorisation was granted for a 4.5 MW photovoltaic plant in Trecate, which will power Eni’s production site. Authorisation procedures are underway for further initiatives in Porto Marghera, Ravenna, Priolo, Gela and Porto Torres.
Through our subsidiary Eni New Energy in June 2020 we acquired in the Puglia region three wind projects for a total of 35 MW. It is the first wind project of Eni to take place in Italy. The three wind farms, that will be built in Comune di Laterza have a peak capacity of 35.2 MW and are expected to produce approximately 81 GWh annually, avoiding around 33,400 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. The three plants will consist of sixteen aerogenerators producing 2.2 MW each, and will be connected to the National Transmission Grid. The construction work is scheduled for the third trimester of 2021.
In February 2021, Eni announced the merger of its renewable energy businesses into Eni gas e luce retail. Thanks to this strategic choice, our already large retail customer base will further increase along with our renewable energy offering.
In July 2021 we signed an agreement to acquire 100% of a portfolio of 13 onshore wind farms in Italy, for a total capacity of 315 MW already in operation, from Glennmont Partners (“Glennmont”) and PGGM Infrastructure Fund (“PGGM”). The acquired portfolio comprises 256 wind turbines that entered into operation between 2009 and 2016 and are located in Sicily, Apulia, Basilicata and Abruzzi regions. The transaction also includes the acquisition of a highly skilled team that will provide continued asset management and further portfolio development.
Including the 35 MW already under development in Apulia, Eni will now reach a total installed wind power capacity in Italy of 350 MW, becoming one of the leading renewables players in the country. The transaction is part of a broader integration strategy between renewable power generation capacity and Eni gas e luce’s customer base. The portfolio in question will help to meet the energy needs of around 200,000 Italian families.
This is only the beginning of a very ambitious journey that will increase Eni's installed capacity in Italy to almost 600 MW at the end of the 2023 plan period, as part of the energy transition we have embarked upon with the goal of achieving an 80% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 over the entire cycle of our energy products.