Augusta: a new research center and photovoltaic plant to breathe new life into a former power plant

Published on Thursday, 16 March 2023

A new research center has been created from the synergy between the industrial and academic worlds, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and powered by renewable energy. Here they are testing and applying innovative solutions to mitigate the environmental impact of the essential infrastructure needed to produce energy. On March 14, on the site of the former thermoelectric power plant in Augusta in the province of Syracuse, we inaugurated this project resulting from our collaboration with the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) and The Science and Technology Park of Sicily (PSTS). 

The Augusta project was created with ambitious goals, the first of which is to breathe new life into the Augusta site, continuing our Group’s commitment to the conversion of strategic sites for the energy transition. Secondly, and just as importantly, to give researchers from the CNR’s Nicola Giordano Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies and the Science and Technology Park an outstanding new laboratory to identify and test solutions and technologies. On the one hand, these solutions and technologies aim to make energy production processes integrated and more efficient, and on the other hand, they aim to reduce the environmental impact of factories and infrastructures, protecting biodiversity and enhancing ecosystem services

This initiative will generate increasingly innovative solutions that can be applied to numerous sites of interest all over Italy. With them, we will continue to contribute to the decarbonization of the entire energy sector, on both the national and international level, strengthened by the support of the new interdisciplinary research center that has incredible scientific, social, economic as well as cultural potential. In fact, the redevelopment was completed by enhancing and safeguarding the buildings already on the site, for which the architect and urban planner Giuseppe Samonà won the “ARCHINSI61” award in 1961 and which still today represent a historical-industrial heritage that is studied at the university level.

On the site, there is also a new solar plant built by Enel Green Power, with a capacity of about 1.5 MW. It is equipped with ultra-high-performance photovoltaic modules produced in our 3Sun Gigafactory in Catania. Besides supporting all the activities of the research center, the plant will prevent the dispersion into the environment of the equivalent of 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide as well as the consumption of 800,000 cubic meters of gas, which will be replaced by clean, locally produced renewable energy. This achievement was made possible also thanks to the direct involvement of citizens who signed up for the “Renewable Choice”, the crowdfunding initiative that allows everyone to participate by investing in the construction of new renewable plants for Italy, benefiting from the economic return over time and contributing firsthand to the energy transition. 

«The thermoelectric power plant site, which guaranteed energy and development to the area for years, now houses a research center and a renewable energy production facility: a new upgrade with a circular economy focus that represents a concrete example of how we want to continue to generate value together with the territory through our activities, thanks to a commitment aimed at the future of energy» commented  Luca Solfaroli Camillocci, Head of Enel Green Power and Thermal Generation Italy. 

This path of redevelopment is an excellent testament to our wide-ranging synergies, based on proactive and ongoing collaborations with the scientific community, the business sector and local citizens, which all contribute to accelerating the energy transition.

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