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Centrale idroelettrica Contrada Cataratti
Centrale idroelettrica Contrada Cataratti

Micro hydroelectric power in Sicily: the energy production of early XIX sec. and the future opportunities

Antonio Gagliano, Francesco Nocera, Francesco Patania, Aldo Galesi and Giuseppe Biundo

DII – Engineering – University of Catania
AbstractHydropower currently over other renewable sources like wind, solar and biomass offers some not negligible benefits that generally include a lower cost of installation to equal installed capacity, higher reliability, higher energy production and more intensity and consistency over time.
Recent years have witnessed the rehabilitation of old small hydro plants, which previously were not economically feasible. In fact, nowadays, thanks to reduced fares offered to producers of renewable energy by the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) and the convention “energy selling”, moreover thanks to the lower costs of the electronic and mechanical equipment which now have a lower impact on the overall budget in respect to the past, the hydropower plants can be an excellent source of economic gain also for micro and small size plants. The article analyzes the technical and economic feasibility of the recovery and modernization of one of the oldest Sicilian ”micro hydro power plant built in 1900 in the Madonia area” and then abandoned and disused after the nationalization of the electric energy.

To this aim, the authors have revised the plant technical characteristics such as the nominal flow rate and head, the type of distribution, and also have calculated the economic profitability indicators, such as the Net Present Value (NPV).

Keywords – micro-hydro power, renewable energy, energy saving, historical plant

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