Electricity generation market

AceaElectrabel Produzione operates in the electricity generation market under the terms of the joint venture between ACEA S.p.A. and Electrabel (now GdF-SUEZ).

Hydroelectric segment

The hydroelectric segment recorded production of 489.4 GWh, again above the historic average and essentially in line (+2.4%) with levels of production reached in the previous year due to a large increase in water supplies which concerned plants in the Tiber basin (rivers Aniene and Nera), and high overall availability, bringing the production to record new levels. This is reflected in the considerable increase in the production of the G. Marconi di Orte (+39.1%) and A. Volta di Castel Madama (+14.0%) plants, under auction with the G. Ferraris di Mandela plant (+23.1%). Production recorded by the S. Angelo plant was again high, at 183.0 GWh, even though lower than the peak registered in 2009 (201.1 GWh).

The year 2010, which began with levels close to the regulation maximum level (255.00 metres a.s.l.), was characterised by extremely high water supplies, especially in the first quarter and the last two-month period. This extremely favourable water supply condition, together with the healthy level of plant availability, led to a very high level of production.
The following significant events occurred during the period:

  • repair work following the failure of the GR1 di Mandela generator exciter system, carried out between 20/5/2010 and 31/07/2010, with a minor impact in terms of non-production due to reduced water supplies which characterised said period during the year;
  • damage to the seal ring of the GR2 rotary valve of the S. Angelo plant, which resulted in downtime of roughly three months in the second quarter of the year for the production unit;
  • repair of the broken seal of an access window in the power tunnel of lake Bomba, carried out between 29/11/2010 and 03/12/2010.

With reference to investments in the “partial renovation” project for the Orte plant and the “total renovation” project for the Salisano plant, it should be noted, in particular, that engineering activities were completed regarding new turbine-generator units and the main related additional equipment, with the construction of the main components at the completion phase.

In 2010, production activities were consolidated in the new Monte della Difesa wind farm in the Province of Salerno (28.9 MW – 34 wind generators with a power of 850 kW) with production equal to 48.4 GWh (+17.1% compared to 2009). 2010 saw continued penalisation due to congestions of the 150 kV interconnection HV electricity network that is connected to the wind farm, still not adequate with regard to transmission capacity to the numerous connections of renewable source production units, generally wind power, of this particularly interesting geographical area in terms of the wind intensity. Based on the wind data recorded, the estimate of the energy that has not been produced due to the limits set out by the grid operator amounts to approximately 6.5 GWh.

Thermoelectric segment

The company’s thermoelectric production also includes, due to the tolling contract, the production of the Voghera plant, equal to 3,252.1 GWh as at 31 December 2010, showing a marked recovery (up 27.6%) compared to 2,548.9 GWh in the previous year, as a result of the improved reliability and availability of the 400 MW CCGT units.

Following a few periods of unavailability recorded in the first few months of the year, between January and March, due to failures concerning, in particular, the gas-powered turbine alternator (out of service due to works regarding stator and bar ground protection), the high level of reliability of the Leinì plant bore the impact of the low market prices, recording 80 new operations, plus 7 restorations of operations following blockages of the gas-powered turbine.

The market performance was enhanced by the improvement in the minimum technical level (down to 220 MW on the Register of Production Units) and by significant participation in the dispatching services market in terms of secondary adjustment with a semi-band of 35 MW available, and participation in tertiary adjustment. Planned maintenance in 2010 (minor inspection of TG and BOP maintenance) was optimised for the purposes of market availability following works planned by Terna on the plant’s interconnection network.

The Voghera plant provided a considerable contribution thanks to optimisation of the dispatched production profile. In 2010, the plant successfully commenced 71 operations, with only 3 start-ups coming after untimely failures. Despite some restrictions due to the unavailability of the Terna interconnection network, the market performance of the unit was positive, the plant was able to seize the opportunities offered by the dispatching services market as regards the flexibility of the production capacity due to a particularly low minimum technical level of the plant (equal to 201 MW on the Register of Production Units), plus a 24 MW semi-band available for secondary adjustment.

However, a significant unplanned unavailability was recorded during the year, from 11 June until 17 July, due to the unexpected breakdown of the gas turbine’s second rotor disk which needed repaired at Ansaldo’s workshops. The economic cost of the unexpected breakdown was, however, contained by the rescheduling of all planned maintenance activities for 2010 following the restoration of the damaged rotor.

The management strategy as regards the availability of CO2 emission securities to cover the risk of volatility of the price on the Emission Trading market, implemented with the sale of total available accumulated securities and the repurchase of items corresponding solely to quantities of energy actually sold as part of the contracts stipulated, represented an additional element of growth in the total economic result due to a balance of CO2 quotas sold in 2010 of roughly 600,000 tonnes.

With reference to the performance of thermoelectric production, 2010 saw a confirmation of the negative production trend for the combined cycle of the Tor di Valle plant, no longer adequate to sustain the market impact for the efficiency gap with respect to modern latest generation cycles which is accentuated by market prices which show a net decrease. In addition, particularly low market prices also shaped production in the cogeneration section, which recorded a 57.9% decrease over 2009.

Participation in the Dispatching Services Market partially offset the total economic result of the plant due to the restrictions imposed by the Integrated Environmental Authorisation, on one hand, on the possibility of using the two TG1 and TG2 units of the combined cycle in the dissipative structure, and on the other, due to the restriction placed on the TG3 units of the cogeneration section as regards maximum NOx emissions, therefore, with the need to use auxiliary boilers to produce heat for district heating.

Montemartini plant

2010 was the third year of operation of the Montemartini plant as a generating unit that is essential to the security of the National Electricity System, pursuant to the Resolution of the Italian Authority for Electricity and Gas no. 111/06, as part of the National Electricity System Security Plan – Emergency Plan for the City of Rome. The plant's TG1, TG2 and TG3 units were subject to dispatching orders from Terna, save for short periods of maintenance and black start up testing. Plant production was therefore limited exclusively to dispatching orders from Terna, as well as production functional in the testing activities. The economic result was, however, guaranteed by the reintegration of costs recognised by the Italian Authority for Electricity and Gas.

Lastly, it should be underlined that, after the Montemartini (2008) and Tor di Valle (2009) plants, the Ministry for Public Health and Protection of the Environment, Land and Sea issued the Integrated Environmental Authorisation (AIA) of the Leinì plant with provision no. 897/2010, published in the Official Journal on 5.01.2011. As a result of the company’s certification UNI EN ISO 14001:2004, Leinì’s (AIA) authorisation has a duration of six years.

Roselectra SpA

With regard to the company Roselectra S.p.A., in 2010 the new single shaft combined-cycle thermoelectric plant with a power of approximately 400 MW (located in the Municipality of Rosignano) totalled a net production value of 1,594.2 GWh, up 4.8% compared to the previous year, despite the execution of the general review, the first major maintenance work, lasting roughly 2 months, which took place between April and May 2010. The major maintenance work was completed within the scheduled timeframe.

Tirreno Power SpA

Finally, the company Tirreno Power S.p.A., with its production plants located along the Tyrrhenian ridge, is able to produce electricity in a highly flexible and competitive way:

  • the thermoelectric production groups are composed of traditional units (two coal-fired and one gas-fired) and of 4 combined gas cycles;
  • 17 hydroelectric plants (divided into “on running water” and “regulated” types).

Energy injected in 2010 amounted to 10.2 TWh, down by 0.7 TWh compared to 10.9 TWh recorded in 2009.
The production volumes of the Vado Ligure power plant significantly increased compared to 2009, thanks in particular to the contribution of the coal units (+708 GWh).

It should be noted that in 2009, unit 4 was still not operating due to a fault in the alternator. The unit shutdown lasted from late 2008 until 23 January 2009. In the same year, unit 3 was shut down in May due to important maintenance works on the boiler and the general overhaul of the alternator turbine. The combined cycle unit 5 also recorded a higher level of production (+110 GWh), despite a shutdown from 11 October 2010 following the failure of the rotary disks of the second stage turbine of both turbogas plants. The higher production is also attributable to less repurchase opportunities on the Dispatching Services Market.

Torrevaldaliga plant

The Torrevaldaliga plant recorded decidedly lower levels of production (-1,526 GWh) compared to the previous year both following significant maintenance work performed on the turbogas plants (replacement of burners with new low emission models), and strong competition in the Central South area which, resulting in low sale prices, required greater plant adjustment.

The Naples plant, in the operation test phase until April 2009, recorded production of 1,285 GWh in 2010. The low sales prices required a greater adjustment in spite of the excellent availability of the plant.

Hydroelectric production in the Renewable Sources Sector is slightly lower than that in 2009 (-40 GWh), although particularly high.
In addition, the Vado Ligure PV plant produced 63.4 MWh in 2010.