In 2018, electricity production from both stations registered a decrease of 9.3% (-33.6 million kWh) compared to 2017, amounting to 327.7 million kWh. This decrease was due to lower electricity production from both stations.
Electricity production for the Group's own uses, including ancillary services, losses and imbalances, amounted to 204 million kWh, while that destined to third parties came in at 123.7 million kWh.
Electricity sold to the Energy Exchange recorded a decrease of 54.1% (-70 million kWh) compared to 2017, amounting to 59.4 million kWh. The reduction was mainly due to the lower quantity of energy available at the stations as a result of the increase in sales under bilateral contracts and the less favourable financial conditions on the electricity market compared to 2017.
Following the initiation of new supplies to the airports of Naples, Alghero and Turin, electricity production for sale under bilateral contracts (self-produced) increased by 138% (+37.3 million kWh compared to 2017), amounting to 64.3 million kWh.
In 2018, heat production increased by 2% on 2017 (+8.2 million kWh) to 410.7 million kWh - of which over 74% serving the needs of Linate and Malpensa airports.
Sales to third-party customers did not change significantly, amounting to 104.1 million kWh, down by 1.3% on 2017 (-1.4 million kWh).
In 2018, the Energy business reported revenues of Euro 14,484 thousand, decreasing by Euro 244 thousand on the same period of 2017 (-1.7%). Net of non-recurring items (zero in 2018 and Euro 79 thousand in 2017), revenues fell by Euro 165 thousand.
This reduction is due to Euro 328 thousand in lower sales volumes of electricity and heat production to third parties as a result of market conditions characterised by less favourable prices. This was partially offset by a settlement of Euro 317 thousand concerning a reconciliation of white and green certificates granted to the Malpensa co-generation station in the years prior to 2018 and Euro 154 thousand for lower other income.
Operating costs in FY 2018 amount to Euro 13,717 thousand, up by Euro 354 thousand. This increase is principally due to the purchase costs of CO2 for Euro 721 thousand (linked to the unitary price increase which rose from Euro 5.3 to Euro 20.8 in the period), while methane gas registered a lower cost at Euro 345 thousand. This was determined by the reduction in electricity volumes sold to third parties; other operating costs were down by Euro 22 thousand.
EBITDA and EBIT
As a result of the developments outlined above, 2018 EBITDA was Euro 741 thousand, decreasing by Euro 756 thousand on 2017 (and Euro 520 thousand net of non-recurring items).
EBIT in 2018 was Euro 23 thousand, down Euro 361 thousand on the previous year (and by Euro 125 thousand net of non-recurring items).
The main Energy business investments are linked to the works in the Malpensa station for the installation of a second 7 MWf electric-refrigeration group with its cooling tower and the revamping of the Linate station’s motor control system.
The benefit for the award of incentives provided for “district heating green certificates” ended from January 2017.
With reference to the legal proceedings for green certificates assigned from 2010 to 2014, it should be noted that the 17,106 green certificates requested by the Italian grid operator, Energy Services Manager (Gestore dei Servizi Energetici - GSE), of which 12,435 came under the responsibility of the Group and 4,671 under that of a2a, were offset with green certificates allocated for the year 2015. SEA Energia, through its legal team, filed an appeal within the legal deadline.
In the 2017 financial statements, a provision for future charges of Euro 490 thousand was recorded in relation to green certificates for the period 2015 - 2016, which had been fully paid in 2017. This provision is derived from the fact that the amounts received are not considered definitive, since GSE (in line with assessments for the period 2010-2014) may request the return of a portion. There have not been any updates in this regard.
In 2013, the Italian grid operator (Gestore dei Servizi Energetici - GSE) awarded the Malpensa plant the ‘High Energy Cogeneration’ (HEC) (Cogenerazione Alto Rendimento - CAR) industrial combined heat and power qualification that exempts it from the obligation to acquire green certificates.
The benefit for the award of incentives provided for “white certificates” ended as from January 2017.
In 2017, the Italian grid operator, Energy Services Manager audited white certificates assigned for the period 2012-2015. The GSE assessed that no subsidies should be paid for heating and cooling energy used for certain internal services; as a result, a provision for future charges of Euro 500 thousand was recognised in 2017, since such certificates had been fully paid. There have not been any updates in this regard.
2016 white certificates were requested and at the date of the financial statements, 2,915 certificates were assigned (and duly paid) for the H2O segment (Combined Cycle 2); the company is expecting to also receive white certificates for the other segment (Combined Cycle 1).
In accordance with European Directive 2003/87/EC, from January 1, 2005, plant operators which emit CO2 into the atmosphere must avail of an authorisation issued by the competent national authority. Each plant, in addition, must receive special “rights” permitting the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere without payment.
Where the rights allocated annually concerning the plant are not sufficient to cover emissions, these may be purchased on the market.
Conversely, where the rights allocated are in excess of the emissions produced, the rights not utilised may be sold.
In 2018, overall Group CO2 production was approx. 177,800 Tonnes, of which approx. 119,100 Tonnes were generated by the Malpensa station and approx. 58,700 Tonnes were produced by the Linate plant.
During the year, CO2 quotas were purchased on a number of occasions to cover 2018 production needs and partial 2019 needs.
With reference to 2018 production, at December 31, 2018, SEA Energia produced 180,673 Tonnes of CO2 on its own account. Therefore, additional quotas of CO2 do not have to be purchased to offset the Ministry of Environment for the approx. 177,800 Tonnes issued.