Operating figures, equity and financial results for the period
|oPERATING DATA||U.M.||31/12/2021||31/12/2020||Change||% change|
|Energy produced (hydro+thermal)||GWh||599||524||75||14.4%|
|- of which hydro||GWh||428||370||57||15.5%|
|- of which thermal||GWh||172||154||18||11.7%|
|(Photovoltaic) Energy Produced||GWh||71||64||8||12.2%|
|Energy produced (cogeneration)||GWh||40||41||(1)||(3.2%)|
|Equity and financial results (€ million)||31/12/2021||31/12/2020||Change||% change|
|Operating profit/(loss) (EBIT)||49.4||18.1||31.2||172.1%|
|Net Financial Position||237.0||224.2||12.7||5.7%|
|EBITDA (€ million)||31/12/2021||31/12/2020||Change||% change|
|EBITDA - Energy Infrastructure Segment||79.5||45.4||34.1||75.2%|
|EBITDA - Group||1,256.1||1,155.5||100.6||8.7%|
|Percentage weight||6.3%||3.9%||2.4 p.p.|
EBITDA at 31 December 2021 was € 79.5 million, an increase of € 34.1 million compared to 31 December 2020, mainly due to Acea Produzione (+€ 25.5 million) as a result of the increase in both the volumes produced and the higher water contributions (+55.1 GWh) and the prices on the energy markets (+60.67€/MWh). The increase in margins also refers to Ecogena (+€ 2.5 million) partly due to income from the sale of Alfasigma’s cogeneration plant (+€ 0.6 million) and for the remainder to higher revenues from activities relating to design and permitting services for the Acea Group’s mobility plan.
Finally, EBITDA for the photovoltaic segment, identifiable with the scope of the operating subsidiaries of Acea Sun Capital and Acea Solar, was € 17.3 million, up by € 5.3 million primarily due to the
effect of the change in scope. As extensively described in the paragraph “Information on IFRS 5” of the Notes to the Financial Statements, at the end of the year a contract was signed for the sale of certain companies in the photovoltaic sector, which in 2021 contributed € 16.5 million to EBITDA. The closing of the transaction and the related sale of the equity investments will occur by 2022.
The average workforce was in line with the previous year. Note that the photovoltaic companies do not have employees.
Investments amounted to € 39.4 million and are mainly attributable to Acea Produzione (€ 17.5 million), mainly for the installation of the third engine at the Tor di Valle thermal power station, for the requalification work on the substations of the S. Angelo, Salisano and Orte Power Stations and for the extension and restoration of the district heating grid in the Mezzocammino district in the south of Rome, to the investments made by Acea Solar (€ 10,5 million) developed by Aiem, Solarfields and Enertronica and by Fergas (20 MW) for the construction of photovoltaic plants on both agricultural and industrial land and to Fergas Solar (€ 10.4 million) for the Ferrandina plant.
The net financial position stood at € 237.0 million as at 31 December 2021, an increase of € 12.7 million compared with 31 December 2020. The changes are mainly linked to the dynamics of acquisitions of companies in the photovoltaic segment and operating cash flow.
Significant events for the 2021 financial year
The production system of Acea Produzione currently consists of a series of generation plants with total installed capacity of 229.2 MW, composed of five hydroelectric plants (three located in Lazio, one in Umbria and one in Abruzzo), fifty-two photovoltaic plants (with installed capacity of 8.6 MWp), two “mini hydro” plants, Cecchina and Madonna del Rosario and two thermoelectric power stations, Montemartini and Tor di Valle. The latter, the subject of a major repowering completed in late 2017, was affected by an expansion already authorised in the IEA of 2015 and commenced in the second half of 2020 through the installation of the 3rd engine.
The plant was launched for commercial operation on 9 July 2021 allowing the Company to meet its commitments under the capacity market auction award during the 2022-2037 period. The power plant in its current configuration consists of three high-efficiency natural gas-fired engines each with an electrical output of 9.5 MW, for a total of 28.5 MW, as well as three integration boilers and 6 storage tanks. In addition to selling electricity to the market during the most profitable hours, the plant provides electricity in SEU to the total electricity users of the adjoining Rome South Treatment Plant and the thermal energy necessary for the supply of district heating service in the districts of Torrino Sud, Mostacciano and Mezzocammino in the Municipality of Rome.
The Company is proceeding with the authorisation process for the installation of 2 new cogeneration units, with a capacity of 1.5 MW each, which will be powered by the biogas coming from the Rome South Treatment Plant and will produce electricity to be fed into the grid and thermal energy that will be supplied to the treatment plant and partly fed into the district heating grid.
Activities to improve the quality of the district heating service continue, with extraordinary maintenance of the district heating grid involving both the renovation of the delivery substations and the replacement of several important sections of piping. In particular, the doubling of the section of piping from the Tor di Valle power plant was commissioned. With reference to the activities put in place to meet the requirements introduced by ARERA relating to technical quality, a toll-free number dedicated to emergency reports was launched on 1 January and the new GIS platform was put online, which will enable management, monitoring and reporting of technical interventions carried out on the district heating grid.
In addition to the production assets described above, Acea Produzione, following the disposal of plants during the year 2021, owns photovoltaic plants for an installed capacity of 3.1 MWp in addition to those owned by its subsidiaries.
In 2021, the Company generated a volume of 540.1 GWh through the directly owned power plants. During the period, the Company’s production was subdivided into hydroelectric plant production of 424.6 GWh, production from mini-hydro plants of 3.2 GWh, thermoelectric production of 102.7 GWh and photovoltaic production of 9.6 GWh. The Company’s production mix is mainly from renewable sources with “green” production representing approximately 81% of the total. In addition, about 60% of total production is incentivised following investments in hydroelectric power plants or participation in the “feed-in tariff” scheme for the photovoltaic segment.
With regard to district heating, the Company, through the cogeneration module of the Tor di Valle power plant, supplied heat to the Torrino Sud and Mostacciano districts (located in the south of Rome) for a total of 68.63 GWh (thermal), for a total of 3,581 utilities served (266 condominiums and 3,315 real estate units).
With particular reference to hydroelectricity, the sector recorded an overall production of 427.8 GWh, higher than the historical tenyear average (+1.1%), due to the greater contribution of the flowing plants of C. Madama, Mandela and Orte (+18.3%), despite the decrease in the S. Angelo power plant. In fact, the production of the power plant recorded a reduction (-3.8%) compared to the 10-year averages and the average 2021 contributions of the Aventino (3.5 mc/s) and Sangro (12.6 mc/s) rivers, which belong to the catchment basin on which the power plant supply works rest, were -22.6% and +4.8% respectively compared to the average of the previous three years 2018-2020. In view of the level of contributions in 2021, the maximum reservoir level was exceeded at the Bomba Dam during the late January - early February period and the current lake levels reached 248.60 and 251.24 metres above sea level, respectively.
Finally, the photovoltaic sector (52 plants for a total of 8.6 MWp) recorded production of 9.6 GWh, which was lower than estimated production due to the prolonged revamping of the Orvieto and Monte Mario plants.
The Company’s production system as at 31 December 2021 consists of a set of cogeneration plants, whose total electrical, thermal and cooling capacity has been reduced as a result of the conclusion of the two contracts referring to the Prepo and Alfasigma plants, falling from a total installed electrical capacity of 4 MW to an overall electrical capacity of 1.86 MW. This amount includes the installed power related to the second cogenerator mounted at Europarco.
The plants held by the company at 31 December 2021 are en- 102 tirely located in the Lazio region, some of which are combined with district heating grids. In 2021, the Company achieved a production volume of electricity of approximately 6.7 GWh, thermal energy of approximately 23.3 GWh, and refrigeration energy of approximately 11.1 GWh. Compared to last year, thermal energy and refrigeration energy sold to customers is up slightly, while electricity is down due to the conclusion of the contract with Alfasigma.
With regard to Europarco’s trigeneration plant, the construction of the second 400 kW cogenerator at the site has been completed.
With regard to the Porta di Roma plant, the repairs on the first cooling unit of the plant have been completed. Work was completed on moving an additional cooling unit from the Cinecitta World trigeneration plant with the related cooling tower for the upgrades to the Porta di Roma site.
Works to replace the heat pump for refrigeration energy were also completed at the Saxa Rubra plant.
With regard to the air conditioning system at Acea’s data processing centre (Cedet), checks and fine-tuning were carried out on the new more efficient system. The report on the actual energy savings achieved was sent to the Customer who confirmed compliance with the energy performance guaranteed in the Energy Performance Contract (savings of 308 MWh with reference to the year from July 2020-June 2021). The final consumption of the plant with improved efficiency showed an energy saving of 30% compared to the previous use of the plant.
As part of the activities carried out by Ecogena for Acea Innovation, concerning the design project, permit and creation of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, it should be noted that the project continues its implementation phase with regard to “WAVE I” of the project, where work remains to be completed on those positions that have suffered delays due to criticalities highlighted by SIMU (infrastructure department of the Municipality of Rome) towards the DSO, the inaction of several municipalities in the release of excavation licences or the overlap of local events that have postponed their implementation.
In the meantime, the Mayors’ Conference was held for the approval of WAVE II of the project, so as of now, having passed the stage of requesting excavation licenses for the 92 approved projects out of 182 submitted, it is possible to proceed with the start of works. For the planning of WAVE III of the project, sites have been selected for development and the service contract between Ecogena and Acea Innovation is being finalised. Ecogena is also in the process of organising works for 13 sites distributed over the territories of two municipalities in the province of Rome (Velletri and Castel Gandolfo).
On the subject of the efficiency of residential buildings through tax deduction systems (see ecobonus and sismabonus) and as part of the collaboration established between Acea Innovation (owner of the business line) and Ecogena, project assignments for over € 30 million were registered. At the same time, the first 3 superbonus worksites promoted by Ecogena have commenced, to which another two related condominiums will be added shortly, all in the province of Taranto. In December 2021, the contract for the work on the Ostia super condominium in Via Capo dell’Argentiera was signed.
In the area of cogeneration, in December 2021, a contract was signed for energy service through cogeneration technology and the construction of a 2 MWe plant. Preliminary checks are underway on other industrial prospects and, at the same time, preparatory activities are taking place for the evaluation of an opportunity in the photovoltaic sector that envisages the construction of the plant in ESCo mode, with the provision of an energy service to end customers.
In line with the Business Plan, the Acea Group also continued to acquire companies in the photovoltaic market during 2021. As at 30 December 2021, 18 companies were acquired for a total installed capacity of approximately 62 MW (Acea Sun Capital 46 MW, Acea Produzione 13 MW and Acea Solar 3 MW); it should also be noted that in 2021, 100% of the capital of JB Solar Srl, M2D, PSL and Solarplant was acquired (total installed capacity of 4.0 MW). Two new companies, Acea Green and Acea Renewable, were also established, to which several plants previously owned by Acea Produzione and Acea Solar were transferred. We can also note that Acea Solar, through its subsidiary Fergas Solar SpA, is the owner of a single authorisation for the construction of a 20MW solar power plant in Basilicata, has obtained authorisation for the construction of a 5 MW power plant on its own industrial land in Lazio and also has a 15 MW portfolio in Lazio.
In the development of greenfield photovoltaics, Acea is also carrying out a balanced mix of projects, with particular attention to areas of an industrial nature, and has a total of over 400 MW in the pipeline.
Finally, as described in detail in the section on “Assets held for sale”, at the end of 2021, Acea and Equitix signed an agreement to sell a majority stake in a newly created company to which Acea’s photovoltaic assets already in operation or being connected to the grid in Italy have been transferred.
In particular, Equitix will acquire a 60% stake in the newly established company (“HoldCo”) to which will be transferred a portfolio of photovoltaic plants, currently owned by Acea Sun Capital, with a total installed capacity of 105 MW, of which 46 MW incentivised on the basis of different Energy Accounts and 59 MW for new construction already connected or being connected to the network.