A new 12.5 MW biomass power plant will result from the conversion of the former sugar refinery in Finale Emilia. The plant will be fuelled by agricultural biomass.

Rome, August 9th, 2013 – Enel Green Power, a world leader in the renewable energy sector, and COPROB, the leading sugar beet producer in the country, assisted by financial advisor Valore e Capitale Srl, an investment banking firm specialising in the renewable energy sector, have signed a partnership agreement. Through Enel Green Power’s acquisition of 70% of Domus Energia, a COPROB Group company, the partners have begun work on building a 12.5 MW power plant in Finale Emilia (in the province of Modena) that will be fuelled by agricultural biomass. From now onwards, Domus Energia should be called Enel Green Power Finale Emilia.

The accord represents a further step in Enel Green Power’s strategy for expansion in Italy’s biomass sector, as well as enabling the COPROB Group to complete the complex process of reorganizing and converting sugar refineries closed in 2006, following the EU’s reform of the sugar market.

Enel Green Power’s expertise in the renewable energy sector, coupled with COPROB’s proven ability to supply the agricultural raw material, provide further assurances of the plant’s efficiency and productivity, all to the benefit of the development of the Modena area and in full compliance with the national targets for renewable resources.

“The COPROB Group is proud to be able to complete the process of converting the former sugar refinery in Finale Emilia,” commented Claudio Gallerani, President of COPROB, “a project on which we have been working for a long time. It has involved a complex administrative and business process requiring close dialogue with national and local institutions, with residents and with the members of the cooperative, who are preparing to plant 3,000 hectares of fibre sorghum (a plant used in crop rotation), which will be used to fuel this power plant in years to come, along with the by-products of other agricultural activities, such as straw, stalks and prunings.”

“In concluding this agreement, which envisages an investment of more than 60 million euros, Enel Green Power is demonstrating its willingness to expand locally sourced biomass, the meeting point between the worlds of agriculture and energy,” commented Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager of EGP. “Promoting local biomass means developing the territory around the plant and enhancing the value chain by encouraging the cultivation of crops best suited for energy generation and by exploiting the by-products of existing productive activities to the greatest extent possible.”

Using its own resources, COPROB conducted a four-year trial involving the cultivation of 500 hectares of fibre sorghum. The experiment was successful, making it possible to select the most suitable varieties for highly effective production. At the same time, the best harvesting technologies have been developed, with the construction of special equipment in collaboration with the Agricultural Research Council - Agricultural Engineering Research Unit  (CRA/ING) and the leading companies in the industry.

The results achieved were also recognised by the agricultural associations Copagri, CIA and Confagricoltura, which on March 6th signed a supply agreement setting out the criteria for stable, continual remuneration of farmers over time, in addition to ensuring better crop rotation, facilitating application of the rules under the new Common Agricultural Policy.

“The 12.5 MW power plant in Finale Emilia,” concluded Mr. Gallerani, “is one of the many efforts towards diversification that COPROB is pursuing through the biogas plants already in operation, since the end of last year, in Pontelongo (near Padua), Minerbio (near Bologna) and in Finale Emilia, where the by-products of sugar beet cultivation account for 80% of the material converted into energy, and at the sister plant that will established in Porto Viro (Rovigo)”.

In compliance with the authorisations obtained by the COPROB Group, the Finale Emilia plant will start operation by 2015.


COPROB’s membership comprises more than 5,700 farms in Emilia-Romagna and in Veneto and, with two active facilities in Minerbio (BO) and Pontelongo (PD), it is the leading producer of sugar from sugar beets in Italy. It produces 284,000 tonnes of sugar each year, with revenues of 342 million euros (2012 figures). Selling the only sugar certified 100% Italian under the Italia Zuccheri brand, the COPROB Group holds a market share of 23% in Italy. The COPROB Group has begun to diversify into the renewable energy sector.

Enel Green Power is the Enel Group company fully dedicated to the development and management of renewable energy sources at the international level. The company generated more than 25 billion kWh in 2012 from water, sun, wind and the Earth’s heat- enough to meet the energy needs of approximately 10 million households and avoid the emission of over 18 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. Enel Green Power is a world leader in the sector. As of today, the Company has an installed capacity of 8,700 MW from a mix of sources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass. Currently, the company has around 740 operational plants in 16 countries in Europe and the Americas.

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