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Italian small hydro plants could produce 25% more

Italian small hydro plants could produce 25% more

(Montel) Italian small and medium-sized hydropower plants could increase their production by
up to 25% if the country manages to overcome regulatory difficulties and activate investments
in the sector, the head of lobby association Federidroelettrica told Montel.
These plants represent about one-fifth of Italy’s total hydropower production, which in 2023 was 38.2
TWh, according to data from the TSO Terna.
“Those who want to revamp a plant do not get funding from banks because in many cases their
concession is about to expire,” Paolo Picco said.
The lack of liquidity in the sector leads to a decrease in production capacity, a more negative
environmental impact and fewer investments in modernisation, he added.
“Perhaps the last revamping of a plant I saw was done four years ago; entrepreneurs do not want to do
it,” said the head of Federidroelettrica, which represents about 20% of the more than 4,000 small and
medium-sized hydropower plants in Italy.
Legal disputes ahead
Italian law provides that for hydropower plants with a capacity below 10 MW, the concession of the
plants can be renewed without tenders.
The law dates to 1933, and some local administrations believe it is no longer legitimate as it contradicts
European competition regulations.
The Italian Competition Authority this week agreed on the illegitimacy of Italian law, urging
administrations to conduct tenders.
Federidroelettrica opposes the initiation of new tenders and is preparing a series of legal challenges to
block them. The lobby reckons the problem “is political” and should be resolved by the government and
parliament.
Italy also faces a similar issue for larger hydropower plants as national law mandates concessions to be
tendered.

Reporting by:
Alfredo Spalla
alfredo.spalla@montelnews.com
14:24, Wednesday, 12 June 2024

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