On 17 March, at Enel Green Power’s Carlo Bobbio Plant at Isola Serafini, a passageway for fish was opened. It was created as part of the Life Con.Flu.Po project, co-financed by the European Union.
Thanks to this work – the largest in Italy of its kind and one of the largest in Europe – the biodiversity of the river will be enhanced, guaranteeing the repopulation of endangered fish species, starting with the Adriatic sturgeon, a priority endangered species for Europe. The project was led by the Region of Lombardy, and supported by Emilia-Romagna, the Authority of the Po Basin, the Interregional Agency for the Po, the Province of Piacenza, the Province of Rovigo and the Ticino Lombardo Park.
Present at the inauguration, among others, were the president of Lombardy Roberto Maroni, the agricultural commissioner of Emilia Romagna Simona Caselli, the mayor of Monticelli d’Ongina Michele Sfriso and, from Enel Green Power, Giovanni Rocchi, head of Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Marche.
The fish passageway is equipped with innovative solutions: in the central part there is a monitoring booth with two large underwater windows and a camera system that can record migrating fish species and their direction of movement 24 hours a day, allowing for their identification.
In the upstream sector, an experimental catching system has been created, formed by two large moveable frames, with metal borders and net walls, which are handled with a special bridge crane. When activated, this system allows for the capture of migrating fish within the two branches and the subsequent maintenance of the captured samples in a special central pool with running water.
This work allows, after more than 50 years, the reconnection to the Adriatic Sea of at least 100 more kilometres upstream of the dam along the main course of the river Po, and the hydrographic network under this, which extends for more than 70,000 square kilometres, including the many sub-basins – Ticino up to the lakes of Maggiore and Lugano.
The total investment was 7,500,000 euro. 3,500,000 euro were disbursed by the EU, 3,000,000 euro by the leader agency and partners, and 500,000 euro were co-financed by Enel Green Power.
The reopening of the river connection also produces an improvement of the conservation status of the habitats and species of the Nature Network 2000 (Rete Natura 2000), involving 33 SIC (sites of community interest) present along the river beds of the Po and directly affected by the project.
"For some time, Enel Green Power has included projects of environmental sustainability and protection of biodiversity within their business strategy”, said Giovanni Rocchi, head of Enel Green Power for Emilia Romagna, Tuscany and Marche. “With this in mind, we are proud to have collaborated in the building of this project. The Isola Serafini plant is the largest flowing water plant, which produces 500 million kWh a year, meeting the energy needs of about 170,000 households”.
"We as the Region of Lombardy are attentive to the issue of European funds”, continued the president Roberto Maroni, “because we spend them well. A recent ranking on the use of European funds, planning 14-20, Lombardy comes in second, after Baden Wuerttemberg. We want to be first. And that is what happened here today: the EU said we’ve done well. I’m very satisfied with this result and I thank everyone, from Enel to the institutions. This can be a model to be exported elsewhere, and I hope that, also at the level of the European Commission, the success of this project can be brought as an example, not only for all the regions of Italy but also all over Europe".