Enel makes environmental progress in 1997

Italy's main power firm calls for greater government support for renewables

Enel, the state-owned company providing electricity to over 90% of the Italian population, presented its second annual environmental report yesterday. The 1997 report is a clear sign of the company's new attitude to environmental accounting, Enel chairman Chicco Testa said. He stressed the importance of training and R&D to further improve the company's environmental performance. Enel invested around IL1.5 trillion (Ecu770m) in environmental protection in 1997, the report shows, a 15% increase on 1996 spending and 23% of all investment. The company also reduced polluting emissions from 1996 to 1997. Measured as grams emitted per KWh of electricity produced by Enel, sulphur dioxide emissions fell from 3.8g to 3.5g, nitrogen oxides from 1.9g to 1.6g and carbon dioxide from 735g to 723g. The firm blamed its relative inactivity on developing renewable energy on the government's lack of clear guidance, both from a legal and fiscal standpoint. "Renewable sources should now move from the area of research into the area of production," said Mr Testa, "but we are waiting for mechanisms that would make them economically feasible." Speaking at the event held to launch Enel's report, Italy's junior environment minister Gianni Silvestrini responded by saying that a green paper on renewables was in preparation and that a detailed plan of action would be ready before the end of the year.

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