the year that has just ended has highlighted more than ever the extent to which climate change requires institutions and companies to invest decisively in long-term adaptation strategies.
The year 2022 was characterised by contextual conditions that were as unpredictable as they were unprecedented, caused in large part by the energy crisis and the droughts resulting from the now full-blown climate change.
The energy shock, exacerbated by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, caused severe repercussions in the markets as well as a sudden rise in inflation. In September 2022, the energy price was 40.8% higher than in the same period last year. Against this backdrop, EU Member States responded with emergency measures that have, however, brought the momentum for energy transition to a standstill, just think of the re-ignition of decommissioned coal-fired power plants in an attempt to curb Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.
In the face of these transitional and contingent actions, however, it is crucial to remain focused on the trajectory mapped out: the urgency of managing and mitigating climate change risks can only be answered by Europe’s ambitious 2050 climate neutrality targets and confirm the need for a concerted effort to accelerate the energy transition. With this in mind, the EU has further strengthened the commitments already made to tackle energy dependence with the approval of REPowerEU, the European Commission’s plan to make Europe independent of Russian fossil fuels well before 2030 by diversifying energy supply sources, accelerating the energy transition through the development of renewables, and adopting measures to encourage energy saving and the conscious use of energy by citizens, businesses and organisations.
In addition to the complex geopolitical and economic situation, 2022 was characterised by the evidence of climate change, going down in history as the hottest year since 1880. Rising temperatures hit Europe and Italy in particular hard, with a record national average temperature of +1.15°C. The high temperatures were accompanied by long periods of severe drought, which had a negative impact on hydroelectric production. The country is experiencing a very bitter taste of what the water situation could be in the coming decades, with an increasing scarcity of the primary resource needed for our business. On a national level, the drop in hydroelectric production was a dramatic -38%, and in the specific case of CVA -28%.
The challenges outlined by climate change confirm the validity of the strategy of diversification of renewable energy sources for energy production that the Group has established with the Integrated Plan to 2027. Recent industrial transactions increase CVA’s role in the energy transition challenge:the acquisition of Sistema Rinnovabili and the development of agri-voltaics brought about by the acquisition of Bonifiche Ferraresi will allow the Group to reach 514 MW of installed wind and photovoltaic capacity by 2024. These operations, also supported by sustainability-linked financial instruments, allowed for the acceleration of the implementation of CVA’s development strategy, making it possible to achieve the objectives of the Integrated Plan in advance.
Moreover, the complexity of this period in history requires us to listen even more closely to the local area and the communities living there in order to create a resilient system based on trust and aimed at maximising our contribution to the growth and decarbonisation of the economy.
Over the course of 2022, we shared several periods of reflection and discussion with the stakeholders involved in the revamping of our Hône 2 and Chavonne hydroelectric power stations, which allowed us to harmonise design and production needs with those of the area.
At the same time, always paying attention to the needs of our host territories, maintenance and modernisation activities continued on our plants, dams and distribution networks, enabling us to maintain the integrity of our assets, the safety of energy supply and continuity of service. In particular, in spite of the uncertain framework of the concessions that are about to expire, the professionalism and reliability that have always been our hallmark have called on us, and continue to oblige us both to fully complete the investments undertaken on our hydroelectric plants and to look to the future with new projects.
Thanks to industrial investments, as part of a long-term vision, CVA will be a key player in the energy transition of the Aosta Valley and the country, in its role as a major public operator producing 100% GREEN energy. We are aware that this process requires a great sense of responsibility to make sustainability scenarios compatible and feasible. The whole world is looking at the energy sector with great expectations and it is imperative that its operators play their part. CVA is more than ever ready to take on this challenge, convinced that only through a common commitment can the goals be achieved.
While constantly renewing itself by looking at new challenges, however, CVA has not diminished its efforts to remain at the side of its customers, who in 2022 have been overwhelmed by increasing energy prices and rising inflation, with serious repercussions for households.
To counter this emergency, CVA has been able to adopt, with timely decisions, commercial solutions attentive to its customers: starting in February 2022, we have launched Discount40, an offer that provides, for the whole of 2023, a reduction in the bill on the energy component equal to 40% for all Aosta Valley households and 10% for other users. CVA’s responsiveness thus made it possible to turn a moment of crisis into new opportunities, in accordance with the expectations of its Stakeholders.
To seize these opportunities and pursue industrial development and the achievement of its goals, the Group has also invested in its most valuable resource, its people. The year 2022 saw as many as 57 new staff hired: significant growth that confirms the virtuous link between growth and development, also in terms of the distribution of results across the territory and the labour market.
At the end of the year, we recorded turnover of Euro 1.7 billion and a margin of Euro 295.81 million, marking a change of 52.7% compared to the previous year. The extraordinary results achieved during the year and the publication of this document were possible thanks to the commitment and dedication of all the people at CVA. We would like to thank each and every one for contributing significantly to this achievement with professionalism and dedication.
Confident in a future full of shared and sustainable opportunities, we wish you happy reading.
Enrico de Girolamo
Chief Executive Officer