Porto Tolle Power Station

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Porto Tolle Power Station was a proposal by Enel Produzione SpA for a 2000-megawatt (MW) oil-to-coal plant conversion in Porto Tolle, Rovigo province, Veneto region, Italy.

Location

The map below shows Porto Tolle, the approximate location where the plant would be built.

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Background

Power in Europe noted in June 2007 that the project was "still awaiting environmental clearance and final approval from MAP. Project ‘not a foregone conclusion’ says Enel’s Fulvio Conti, but Enel maintains 2012-13 horizon.". It also noted that this was a similar proposal to the Civitavecchia project in Lazio. The newsletter states that both the projects "have struggled against sustained environmental opposition and political change."[1]

On May 17, 2011, Italy's top administrative court canceled government clearance for Enel's project to convert the power plant to coal from fuel oil. Decisions of Italy's State Council, the highest administrative court, cannot be appealed, which means Enel would have to either give up on the 2.5 billion euro ($3.54 billion) project or start a lengthy permitting process from scratch. The top court also overruled a decision by a regional court in 2010 to back Enel's plan, which was opposed by environmentalist groups.[2]

Enel had planned to start at the end of 2011 to convert its 2,640 megawatt oil-fueled Porto Tolle plant to use "clean coal" technology, and invest another 1 billion euros in a carbon capture and storage facility on the site. Enel CEO Fulvio Conti said in April 2011, after Italy decided to freeze its plans to revive nuclear energy following the nuclear disaster in Japan, his company was ready to boost coal power generation as an alternative.[2]

In June 2012, the State Council, Italy's highest administrative court, made a ruling that would allow the environment ministry to reopen the permitting process for the conversion to coal from fuel oil at Porto Tolle. However, in March 2012 Enel CEO Fulvio Conti was quoted as saying, "We're not in a hurry to see the Porto Tolle coal station set up. There isn't enough demand."[3]

In January 2014, Italy's Ministry of the Environment, noting "grave deficiencies and contradictions" in the plant's conversion plans, requested that Enel re-initiate the environmental impact assessment process from scratch.[4] A final investment decision on the proposed conversion of one of the power station's 250 MW units for carbon capture has been delayed until 2016, due to the power station's permitting issues.[5]

The ministry's decision was announced amidst a climate of worsening public opinion towards the Porto Tolle plant. Two days prior to the environment ministry's ruling, the government environmental research agency Ispra released a report estimating the cost of health and environmental damages caused by the plant at 3.6 billion euros.[6]

In the same month, a 27-year-old Italian woman received nearly 100,000 signatures on a protest petition she launched against the Porto Tolle plant on Change.org, alleging that pollution from the plant was responsible for her Hodgkin's Lymphoma.[7]

Porto Tolle's reputation was further blemished in March 2014 when former Enel officials Franco Tatò and Paolo Scaroni were sentenced to three years in prison for malicious environmental blunders at the plant.[8]

Project cancelled

In October 2014 Enel announced it would not proceed with plans to convert the 2.6 GW fuel-oil Porto Tolle plant into Italy’s first coal-fired plant with CCS technology. Enel said it was now considering converting the plant into a smaller biomass unit.[9]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Enel
  • Parent company:
  • Location: Porto Tolle, Rovigo province, Veneto region, Italy
  • Coordinates: 44.94968, 12.32452 (approximate)
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Gross Capacity:
    • Unit 1: 660 MW
    • Unit 2: 660 MW
    • Unit 3: 660 MW
  • Type: Ultra-Supercritical
  • Projected in service:
  • Coal Type: Hard coal
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing:

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