- The EIB loan will help to improve the resilience of the integrated water cycle, energy efficiency and the management of environmental services in the territories served by the multi-utility
- Water: measures to upgrade existing infrastructure, encourage the reuse of water resources, and ensure the quality and continuity of water services even in the event of drought and extreme weather events
- Energy: development of photovoltaic systems, including small-scale ones, to generate renewable energy, and installation of second-generation smart meters to improve energy efficiency.
- Environment: new construction and upgrading of facilities to increase waste treatment, recycling and recovery capacity
Strengthening the resilience of the integrated water service, increasing the production of renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency, decarbonisation and the circular economy, and enhancing the treatment and collection of waste, in order to support the areas in which the Hera Group operates on the path towards a sustainable ecological transition and contribute to the fight against climate change. These are the main objectives of the EUR 460m loan granted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to the Hera Group, one of Italy’s top 40 companies by capitalisation (Ftse Mib) and active in over 300 Italian municipalities.
Through the loan, the European Union Bank has chosen to finance more than 60 of the multi-utility’s projects aligned with the European Taxonomy which, also responding to the objectives set by the UN Global Agenda 2030, will accompany the communities served by the Hera Group towards a green transition strongly linked to the social and industrial fabric. The total value of these investments, amounting to over EUR 800 million and already envisaged by the multi-utility in its 2022-2026 business plan, will thus be covered for about 60% by EIB financing. The projects will be carried out mainly in Emilia-Romagna, but also in other areas served, such as Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
In detail, the resources made available by the EIB will help to improve the integrated water service through interventions to further reduce leakage, renovate rainwater collection facilities and purify waste water. With regard to waste management, the Hera Group will increase treatment, recycling and recovery capacity through the renovation of existing collection centres and the construction of new state-of-the-art facilities for recycling plastic and carbon fibres, and for the pre-treatment and storage of industrial waste. Moreover, again thanks to EIB financing, the Hera Group in the regions involved will install more than 370 000 second-generation smart meters, develop district heating and cogeneration systems, and build photovoltaic plants, including small-scale ones, with the aim of increasing renewable energy production.
It should also be noted that some 40% of the investments financed by the EIB will go to the areas of Emilia-Romagna most affected by the recent floods. In particular, the operations financed will be aimed at improving the resilience of the water service against future extreme weather events, including, for example, the construction of underground tanks to collect rainwater in the areas of the Romagna coast at high hydrogeological risk, while in the rest of the territory a number of interventions will be carried out to upgrade the sewerage network against flooding.
The financing announced today is part of the EIB’s RePowerEU initiative, which will invest an additional EUR 30bn over the next five years with the aim of activating investments of
EUR 115bn to promote the green transition and progressively reduce Europe’s dependence on fossil fuels.
“This operation is a tangible example of the EIB’s commitment to promoting sustainability, efficiency and resilience of water, energy and waste management infrastructure in Italy and Europe,” commented Gelsomina Vigliotti, EIB Vice-President. “In addition, the EIB loan will help support the Hera Group’s efforts to strengthen services in the areas of Emilia-Romagna affected by the floods in order to improve the prevention and resilience of water services against future natural disasters.”
“This loan from the EIB, a long-standing and consolidated partner of the Hera Group, also represents a propulsive boost to our investment plan and reconfirms the multi-utility’s commitment to the sustainable development of the territories served, with particular reference to the objectives of decarbonisation, circular economy, innovation and resilience, in line with our corporate purpose” – added Orazio Iacono, CEO of the Hera Group. “This is an important piece of the company’s financial strategy which, in addition to further expanding the innovative products and instruments adopted by the Group, helps to support the development programme for the period 2022-2026, confirming our capital strength and financial flexibility”.
Strong EIB support for Italy’s water sector
The EIB, as the European Union’s climate bank, is one of the world’s largest financiers of the water sector, with more than 1 600 projects and some EUR 80 billion in loans disbursed since 1958. Between 2016 and 2022, Italy was the largest beneficiary of EIB resources dedicated to the water sector. During this period, the EIB financed 40 operations totalling EUR 2.9bn in the country, helping to activate investment worth some EUR 8.9bn.