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Tirreno Power shuts down Liguria plant after court seizure

Company 'negligent', emissions data 'unreliable' says judge

11 March, 17:13
Tirreno Power shuts down Liguria plant after court seizure (ANSA) - Genoa, March 11 - Italian electricity provider Tirreno Power began shutting down the coal-fired units at its Vado Ligure plant in Italy's northwestern Liguria region on Tuesday after a judge ordered their seizure for allegedly exceeding emission limits.

In a move reminiscent of the case of the polluting ILVA steelworks in the southern port city of Taranto, Savona preliminary investigations judge Fiorenza Giorgi ordered the seizure of the Vado Ligure plant on grounds of alleged "negligent behaviour" by Tirreno Power and because the emissions data from the plant was deemed "unreliable".

The shut-down was expected to take a total of 20 hours.

A separate gas-fired generator not subject to the restrictions set out in the plant's integrated environmental authorisation (IEA) was to remain in operation. Meanwhile trade unions representing the power plant's 700 workers called for an urgent meeting with Tirreno Power, the Liguria regional authorities and the local authorities to discuss the seizure. "We are shocked by the scope of the provision ordered by the court and requested by the prosecutor's office," said unions representative Maurizio Perozzi. "There are two aspects to the question facing the power station," said his colleague Pino Congiu.

"One concerns the strict regulations imposed by the IEA.

The other concerns the economic crisis that has also been affecting this sector for a long time. We wouldn't want this closure to have a serious impact on the workforce as well," he added. Tirreno Power is controlled by the French multinational electric utility company Gdf Suez with 50% of shares.

A further 39% of the company is held by Sorgenia, a subsidiary of the CIR holding company controlled by Italian businessman Carlo De Benedetti, while the remaining 11% is divided equally between Italian multi-utility companies Hera and Iren.