European bank considers funding Italy renewables, hydro

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is considering a plan to provide 400 million euros (US$508.5 million) to Italian utility Enel Produzione S.p.A. for renewable energy projects including hydropower.

Enel proposes developing a portfolio of renewable and conventional energy investments throughout Italy with a total cost of 927 million euros (US$1.178 billion). The EIB funding is in the appraisal stage.

Work would include both refurbishment and new investment at about 10 small hydroelectric plants and 20 geothermal power plants, plus further repowering of two existing oil-fired power plants into gas-fired combined-cycle units. The program also would include mandatory investments for environmental improvements of flue gas abatement systems at four existing power stations.

Objectives of the funding include increased renewable energy production, energy efficiency, reduction of greenhouse gases, diversification of the Italian and European Union (EU) energy mix, and contribution to regional development. The environmental aspects of the program are in line with EU directives.

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