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Eni builds photovoltaic plant at salt-production site in southern Italy

| By Mary Bailey

Eni S.p.A. (Rome, Italy; and Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE) inaugurated a new 26-MWp photovoltaic plant at Saline Conti Vecchi in the Assemini industrial area in the province of Cagliari. The plant is part of Progetto Italia, a series of Eni initiatives adding sustainable value to its disused industrial areas, especially in Southern Italy.

This event is the result of an Eni-GSE collaboration agreement, signed on 6 June 2017, in which the two companies honored their commitments by implementing technologies for energy production using renewable sources. This brings value to the country by creating employment opportunities and by supporting the sustainable economy.

Thanks to a maximum power capacity of 26 MWp, the energy produced by the solar panels will power the salt production process, which the Ing. Conti Vecchi company oversees, covering about 70% of total energy consumption. Eni and GSE place themselves at the forefront of the circular economy policies that promote sustainable growth by reducing CO2 consumption and reusing the land.

Eni identified the Assemini hub as an area that suited the development of renewable energy technologies. The goal is to create a permanent laboratory for technological development in the environmental and energy field and to create technologically advanced systems such as the CSP (Concentrated Solar Power), developed by the Milan Polytechnic and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). 

GSE supplied its expertise in the renewable resources and energy efficiency sectors to deliver the site project, which has no direct incentive. This entailed completing the surveys on the socio-economic benefits of Eni’s Progetto Italia.

Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni, commented: «”With Progetto Italia we want to bring new life to Syndial industrial areas that already underwent remediation and can host large-scale renewable energy plants. The €260 million investment will produce about 0.4 TWh/year of electricity from renewable sources in Italy. The Saline plant is expected to produce 26 MWp and about 42 GWh/year, consolidating our strategy based on our long-term commitment to the country and enabling us to take an active part in the energy transition towards a low-carbon future”.

“One year on, the agreement between Eni and GSE is producing its first concrete effects for sustainable growth and the battle against climate change”, said the Chairman of GSE Francesco Sperandini. He explained that “The photovoltaic plant installed here at Assemini adds value in terms of the circular economy, reduced CO2, employment, and relaunching the area. This is the road GSE has decided to follow”. He concluded, “We have been busy on several fronts for some time now; promoting and spreading environmental sustainability models that can be replicated all across Italy”. 

Energy company Total and chemical maker Ingevity have also recently announced the installation of photovoltaic power capabilities at sites in France and the U.S., respectively.