Vado Ligure Power Station

From Global Energy Monitor
Part of the Global Gas Plant Tracker, a Global Energy Monitor and Center for Media and Democracy project.

Vado Ligure Power Station is an 800-megawatt (MW) gas-fired power plant in the province of Savona, Italy.

There were plans to build a 460 MW coal-fired unit (VL6), proposed by Engie SA (formerly GDF Suez) and Energia Italiana, but the plans were cancelled.


The undated satellite photo below shows the plant, which is near Vado Ligure, Savona province.

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Background on existing power station

The plant originally included four coal units dating to 1970 and 1971. Unit 1 has been configured to an 800 MW combined cycle natural gas-fired unit, known as VL5. Two 330 MW coal-fired units, known as UL3 and VL4, were closed down by a judge in 2014 for exceeding pollution limits,[1][2][3] and the Tirreno Power SpA Board of Directors decided to keep the coal-fired units closed in June 2016. The 800 MW gas unit is still operating.[4]

Renovation and expansion

Plans to construct a new high-efficiency coal-fired unit at Vado Ligure and modernize the existing sections to improve environmental performance obtained the VIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) from the Ministry for Environment in 2009.[5]

The proposal for continued operation of the plant's coal-fired section raised concern among community groups, who noted health risks associated with the plant's extreme proximity to schools, hospitals and other downtown businesses and cited figures showing that deaths from lung cancer in Vado Ligure were nearly twice the national average (112 per 100,000 in Vado Ligure vs. 57 in Italy as a whole).[6]

In March 2012, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development authorized the plant expansion and modernization project, which provided for possible overhaul of the two existing 330-MW coal-fired units at the site once the new 460 MW coal unit was completed. Conversion of the first existing unit would be authorized automatically upon start-up of the new 460 MW unit. Overhaul of the second unit would depend on verification by Liguria Region of emission results achieved by Tirreno Power. Tirreno Power said the adoption of ultra-supercritical technology would allow the new unit, called VL6, to achieve 47.4% efficiency.[7]

In March 2014, an Italian judge ordered the shutdown of Vado Ligure's two existing coal-fired units due to environmental concerns. Plant operator Tirreno Power issued a statement indicating that it had always operated responsibly and in full compliance with the law.[8]

However, renewable energy advocate QualEnergia reported that the closure was due to violations of emissions limits stipulated in the plant's AIA (Autorizzazione Integrata Ambientale) environmental permit. In making his case against the plant, prosecuting attorney Francantonio Granero cited research indicating that emissions from Vado Ligure had been responsible for 400 deaths between 2000 and 2007 and over 2000 cases of respiratory illness requiring hospital visits between 2005 and 2012.[9]

On March 15, 2014, the Italian Ministry of the Environment issued an injunction requiring Tirreno Power to begin construction of its new VL6 unit within 30 days or risk losing its AIA environmental permit. According to the injunction, Tirreno Power's 'lack of respect for the timetable' constituted a violation of the AIA. On April 9, 2014 Tirreno Power filed an appeal with the regional administrative court TAR Lazio requesting permission to postpone construction of the VL6 expansion pending results of a scheduled May 15 hearing in which TAR Lazio will hear other appeals filed against the Vado Ligure plant by environmental groups and by the cities of Vado Ligure and Quiliano.[10]

As of October 2014 the two coal units are still closed, and Tirreno was uncertain if the company could meet the environmental regulations.[11]

In 2017 the project was called off.[12][13]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Tirreno Power SpA[14]
  • Parent company: Engie SA (50%), Sorgenia SpA (50%)[15]
  • Location: Vado Ligure, Savona province, Liguria, Italy
  • Coordinates: 44.2755,8.4305 (exact)
  • Status:
    • Unit UL3: Commissioned 1970, shut down 2014
    • Unit VL4: Commissioned 1971, shut down 2014
  • Gross generating capacity (operating): 793 MW
  • Gross generating capacity (cancelled): 900 MW
    • Unit VL6: Cancelled
    • Unit VL7: Gas-fired[18] combined cycle[18], 900 MW[18] (cancelled in 2021)[13]
  • Type: Ultra-supercritical (VL6)
  • Projected in service:
  • Coal Type: Hard coal
  • Coal Source: Imported via attached coal port
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. "Informazioni sul sito,", Tirreno Power website, accessed April 2014.
  2. "Tirreno Power Vado Ligure Coal Power Plant,", Global Energy Observatory website, accessed April 2014.
  3. "Coal-Fired Power Plants in Italy," Industcards, accessed April 2016
  4. "Tirreno Power: decisa la chiusura dei gruppi a carbone di Vado Ligure," Tirreno Power, June 7, 2016
  5. "Coal Plants in Italy" Assocarboni, accessed April 2014.
  6. "Ancora carbone: a Vado Ligure raddoppia la centrale" Il Cambiamento, August 31, 2011.
  7. "Il Ministero dello Sviluppo economico autorizza Tirreno Power alla realizzazione di una nuova unità da 460 MW" Il Vostro Giornale, March 7, 2012.
  8. "Italian judge orders shutdown of 2 Vado Ligure coal units" Reuters, March 11, 2014.
  9. "Centrale a carbone di Vado Ligure, scatta il sequestro" QualEnergia, March 11, 2014.
  10. "Tirreno Power, ricorso al Tar Lazio contro l’ultimatum del ministero" La Stampa, April 10, 2014.
  11. "Tirreno Power, l'azienda: 'Modificare prescrizioni ambientali o chiudiamo,'”, Oct 20, 2014
  12. "Centrale termoelettrica di Vado Ligure," Ministero dell'Ambiente, accessed May 2017
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Richiesta informazioni sulla termoelettrica Vado Ligure e Quiliano (SV) ai sensi del D.Lgs. 195/2005 e.s.m.i. - Camini dei gruppi a carbone," Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico, Feb 22, 2017
  14. 14.0 14.1 Vado Ligure | Tirreno Power
  15. Financial Statements at December 31, 2015 Tirreno Power
  16. Open Power Plants Database, ID g_26WUUUVADOTERM5P European Commission Joint Research Centre, version 0.91
  17. World Electric Power Plants database S&P Global Platts, June 2019
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Paolo Picozzi (October 28, 2020). "Tirreno Power Progetto di realizzazione di una nuova unità a ciclo combinato nella Centrale Termoelettrica Vado Ligure: Studio di Impatto Ambientale". ministero della transizione ecologica. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  19. "Vado Ligure". Tirreno Power (in italiano). Retrieved 2021-11-08.

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