La Spezia’s much-anticipated foray into the hydrogen economy now appears to be on shaky ground. Enel, the Italian multinational energy company, is poised to renounce a substantial sum, 13.72 million euros, earmarked for the construction of a green hydrogen production plant in the region.
While the certified email making this official is expected to land in regional offices soon, it’s clear that Enel’s withdrawal could cast a shadow over what was touted as the “Hydrogen Valley.”
The decision to forfeit the substantial funds was by no means sudden, as unofficial signals from Enel had hinted at this outcome even before the official renunciation. Although Enel has remained tight-lipped about the matter, it seems that two primary reasons led to this potentially project-altering decision.
The first of these reasons was alluded to at a council commission meeting in Palazzo Civico earlier in the month. During the meeting, Enel’s top management conveyed that the construction of the green hydrogen production plant had encountered significant delays. The cause of this slowdown was rooted in economic considerations, especially related to the investment’s sustainability in an evolving geopolitical landscape that has become more complex in recent months.
Moreover, Enel had secured the lion’s share of the funds, approximately 14 million euros, in a regional tender in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security. The magnitude of this financial commitment indicates the extent of Enel’s withdrawal and its potential implications for the entire project.
The repercussions of Enel’s recent decision extend beyond the specific project. The hydrogen production plant was seen as the linchpin of La Spezia’s plans for the redevelopment of areas around the thermoelectric power plant. The project was expected to bolster the economic fabric of La Spezia, particularly in the nautical and port sectors. These sectors were counting on the allure of green energy to fuel their own ambitious projects.
The challenge now lies in reevaluating the future of the Hydrogen Valley and considering alternative strategies for advancing La Spezia’s hydrogen ambitions. The project, if successful, would not only have contributed to the green energy landscape but also buoyed the local economy and its transformation.