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  • €49 million will go to Iniziative Bresciane (INBRE), which will onlend the EIB funds to Iniziative Toscane (Intos) for the construction of 12 small hydroelectric plants and the restoration of 13 weirs on the Arno river
  • Support for the decarbonisation of Italy's energy sector
  • Project to enhance the water management of the Arno river, respecting biodiversity and Tuscan historical heritage

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing €49 million to support the project of Iniziative Bresciane S.p.A. (INBRE) aiming to enhance and restore 13 river weirs and install 12 small run-of-river hydroelectric plants on the Arno river in Tuscany. With over 25 years of experience in the development of hydroelectric energy projects, Brescia-based INBRE will onlend the EIB funds to Iniziative Toscane S.r.l. (Intos), which will be responsible for building the hydroelectric plants and restoring the weirs.

The EIB support will enable INBRE to restore the water management infrastructure of the Arno river to improve the region’s climate resilience, including via the reforestation of adjacent areas. The financing will aim to reduce the environmental impact of pre-existing architectural elements and preserve local biodiversity.

The operation will help create almost 10 MW of renewable energy capacity, with an estimated efficiency of 55 GWh a year, as well as further improving the flood safety of the Arno river. The EIB estimates that these plants will provide enough clean energy to supply nearly 22 600 households a year. When implementing the project, special care will be taken regarding the conservation of historical heritage in the areas of Sieci, Compiobbi, San Niccolò and Isolotto by contributing to the development of flood prevention on the Lungarno.

The financing will contribute to the Italian government's decarbonisation targets in line with the Paris Agreements, and also to the EIB's own objectives of climate action, pollution prevention and climate change adaptation.

The loan falls under the EIB's Green Developer Financing Programme. This programme targets projects of companies in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency and green mobility.

The small and medium-sized promoter companies play a key role in new installations and investments in the renewable energy sector and in energy efficiency measures. They are also crucial to the energy transition process. The EIB financing relies on the company’s financial and economic stability and cash flows from its existing plant portfolio to provide funding for new projects at an early stage. This facility enables promoters to monetise future cash flows. Together with loans from other financial institutions, this gives them access to the resources they need to accelerate the development of new projects.

EIB Vice-President Gelsomina Vigliotti said: “We are proud that the EIB — the climate bank — is supporting high-value projects with long-term benefits in Italy, alongside a company with strong connections to the local area and those living there. Fostering the development of an energy ecosystem in line with our goals and those of the European Union will be key to successfully combating climate change.”

Chairman of INBRE’s Board of Directors Battista Albertani added: “We are very pleased to have achieved a significant result by signing this EIB financing, with which INBRE is emphasising its commitment to merging economic and financial prerogatives with socio-environmental ones. In our business connected to generating renewable energy, this is more important than ever. We hope that this project will help to capture the value of our efforts to pursue a balanced development model and long-term continuous and sustainable growth.”

Background information

The EIB finances projects in four priority areas: infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). From 2019 to 2020, the EIB Group provided €23 billion in financing for projects in Italy.

Iniziative Bresciane S.p.A. focuses on developing, managing and investing in small hydroelectric plants in Italy. Founded in 1988 (and active in the hydroelectric sector since 1996), it has been listed on Euronext Growth Milan since 2014.