Porto Tolle CCS project approval overruled

The high court 17th May annulled a July 29th, 2009 environment ministry decree approving the plant on environmental grounds, as well as local authority approval given on October 14th, 2010. The court’s decision followed complaints from green groups and local industry.

– It is important to note that the court did not rule against the CCS-part of the project, only the conversion of the power plant from oil-firing to coal-firing. This is not necessarily an end to the CCS project, says Eivind Hoff, Director of Bellona Europa.

Local opposition

Already in 2009 Bellona drew attention to the potential disruptions in the CCS plans. There has been opposition at the local level against the project, because of the conversion of the power plant from oil to coal. This was because the plant was located in a Natural Park of national value, and was expected to be decommissioned.

The operation of a huge coal-fired power plant raises the risk of a number of environmental impacts at local level. These issues still need to be solved for the project to be viable and acceptable.

Huge investments

With construction scheduled to start by the end of this year, Enel had qualified 400 companies and held 52 tenders for some Euro1.8-billion in contracts, about 70% of the total investment, says theengineer.

The conversion of the Porto Tolle plant, on the River Po in the northeast of Italy, was to have allowed Enel to replace its four oil-fueled units with three coal-fired blocks. The plant’s capacity was to be cut to 1,980 MW from the current 2,640 MW under the conversion, and it would take about six years for the conversion works to be completed. 250 MW of the total output was to be fitted for CCS.