The repurposing of the Bari power plant is underway

Published on Thursday, 23 September 2021

The historic Enel power plant on Via Buozzi in the city of Bari will be repurposed, thanks to a preliminary sale agreement signed with COBAR Spa. This was the result of a tender procedure launched by Enel in 2017, as part of the Group's commitment to giving new life to former thermoelectric plants that can no longer be used for energy purposes. As per its corporate values, Enel has pursued this initiative in close collaboration with local administrative bodies, in an ongoing process in line with social, economic and environmental sustainability guidelines, aimed at creating value for the local community.

In Bari the goal for Enel and all stakeholders involved was to identify solutions for the redevelopment of an area that has become strategic for the city’s evolution and the main mobility lines that connect the suburbs to the center. Bari is the capital of the Apulia region.

Awarding the project to COBAR Spa, a company specializing in the design and construction of buildings, restoration, maintenance and conservational redevelopment work, as well as in the design, installation, maintenance and support of technological systems, marks a fundamental step in the virtuous cycle of collaboration between companies, local authorities and the municipal administration. This guarantees that the area’s repurposing will be focused on sustainability and on the modernization of large spaces. As early as September, once the construction site’s prep work is complete, demolition will begin at the Enel plant in Bari.

COBAR will directly oversee demolition work, with the aim of creating the right conditions in the area for the implementation of new projects. With a focus on the circular economy, some of the site’s current structures will be maintained and converted to new uses. During the demolition phase, Enel will carry out preliminary checks for the area's transformation. The idea is to breathe new life into a modular project that can integrate an urban park, common areas and even recreational, sports and residential areas, and which also encompasses the road network by leveraging adjacent roads to reduce traffic and create new connections with public transport.

"The start of the redevelopment process of the former Bari power plant - said Luca Solfaroli Camillocci, Head of Power Generation Italy at Enel - confirms Enel's commitment to ensuring that the energy transition is a real opportunity for the development and generation of shared value. The plant has been an engine of economic development for more than half a century and has now reached the end of its useful life from an energy perspective. Today, thanks to the collaboration between institutions and companies and to circular economy solutions, the site is set to change its role and host new activities, thereby becoming a connection point between the urban center and the suburbs.”

"We firmly believe in the project that Enel has launched, and we are pleased with the agreement reached, even more so as citizens of the Apulia region, as we can already envision the change it will represent for that part of the city of Bari. It’s an important enhancement project for that area, which will have new gathering spaces and new services. Our development plan - said Vito Barozzi, founder and sole director of COBAR spa - for the areas occupied by Enel’s former plant is designed to produce a sustainable, modern and respectful redevelopment of the facility. We will reconnect these areas with their surroundings, to finally close the gap between the city center and its suburbs. Citizens will be able to count on new gathering spaces and new services.”

The Bari power plant was built between 1956 and 1958 by La Società Generale Pugliese di Elettricità (the Apulian General Electricity Company), which Enel took over in 1962 following nationalization. Originally, it was a fuel oil plant, while in 2008 it was converted to methane to better integrate with its neighborhood, which had seen the construction of several residential units around the plant. The decommissioning of the site began in August 2013.

The repurposing of the Bari power plant is part of Enel's broader program to breathe new life into its thermoelectric power plants, in line with the energy transition process towards a more sustainable model. It involves repurposing disused plants with a focus on the circular economy, enhancing the areas where they were built and reusing, whenever possible, materials and parts of the plants themselves, in order to reduce the consumption of raw materials. When a site has new development potential in the energy sector, it is converted to other types of technology: in this way power plants can become innovative integrated energy hubs, where different technologies to facilitate the energy transition coexist. Where the potential for energy requalification is absent, integration and redevelopment are preferred, with new business projects in areas other than energy production, with complementary sustainable investments for part or all the plant area, thus meeting the needs of the communities in which facilities are located.

In any case, projects must be based on innovation and sustainable development criteria and must create shared value for the community and the surrounding area.

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