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Vercelli 2.0 – more flexible, efficient and climate-friendly

Over the past months, Alpiq has completely overhauled the Vercelli gas-fired power plant in the northern Italian region of Piedmont, making it fit for the energy future. Thanks to its flexibility, it can provide valuable services for electrical system adequacy and for security of supply in Italy.

Flexible power plants and battery storage systems are crucial to the success of the energy transition and to ensuring security of supply. They ensure that supply and demand are balanced at all times and that the grid frequency and voltage levels of the electricity grid remain constant. This is becoming an increasingly challenging task in the face of fluctuating consumption and growing weather-dependent generation - more and more power has to be balanced in an ever-shorter period of time. 
In many countries, gas-fired power plants play a vital role in local security of supply. To minimise the impact of these fossil-fuel-fired power stations, Alpiq has been investing for years in increasing their efficiency so that they can provide the required system services even more flexibly and quickly. One example is the Vercelli gas-fired power station, which was commissioned in 2004. Over the last six months, the plant has been completely overhauled and the main components (turbine, generator) replaced. 

An major contribution to Italy’s climate targets

The work consisted in the replacement of the main components and it resulted in a number of improvements: the plant's flexibility has been greatly increased, so that it can be fully operational within just five minutes and can be used to supply the grid several times a day. The plant's output was increased and its efficiency was significantly improved. As a result, gas consumption has been reduced and, more importantly for the climate, emissions have been cut by 40%.
The Vercelli gas-fired power plant can be used cyclically, which makes it perfectly suited to the needs of the grid. As a result, the new power plant has been participating in the capacity market of the Italian electricity grid operator Terna since April 2024. Its aim is to guarantee the adequacy of the electricity system to support the energy transition, in the context of an ever-increasing penetration of non-programmable renewable sources.
Ultimately, this will enable Italy to meet its national and European climate targets.