SWISS ALPINE REGION GRISONS VOTES TO PUT A BAN ON COAL POWER INVESTMENT IN CONSTITUTION

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14 june 2015

Report
Repower: Statement against coal power included in Grisons’ constitution


Peter Vogelsanger, Retropower.ch, June 14, 2015

Today, in a second and final vote, Switzerland’s alpine region Grisons approved what came to be known as the anti-coal referendum. Grisons’ decision entails a constitutional amendment. It bans investments by companies that are co-owned by Grisons, such as Repower. In the southernmost part of the Italian peninsula, Repower’s subsidiary SEI S.p.A. plans for the construction of a coal power plant with 1.3 Gigawatt capacity. Repower will withdraw from the project in Calabria before the end of this year — a promise the utility made already in 2013, after voters preferred the referendum a first time. Although the result of today’s vote is therefore factually irrelevant, 81% of Grisons voters supported the referendum.

Whether or not Repower’s partner in SEI, Gruppo Hera and Foster Wheeler, will continue the project in Calabria after Repower’s withdrawal remains to be seen.

Today’s vote prescribes: Grisons may not purchase shares of any company invested in coal power and its government must seek to prevent such investments made by companies Grisons already participates in.

Today’s verdict does not resolve any of the problems there are with Repower —in Switzerland or in Italy, where Repower’s business is significant.

In Switzerland, Repower’s executives and its board keep rejecting the construction of more new renewables. In Italy SEI/Repower keeps applying dubious methods. Its scare tactics are endemic. Media manipulation by SEI/Repower is systematic.

Today’s vote marks the end of a long period of self-restraint by those (non-Grisons) climate activists who, starting in 2009, reanimated the campaign in Grisons to stop Repower’s plan to build coal power plants in Germany* and Italy with a combined capacity above 3 GW. At that time the political parties and the environmental organizations had ceased to believe that Repower could be stopped. They have taken home a great victory today!

With the closing of the ballot box, retropower.ch went online. It will be extended to report about the Swiss energy sector and document Repower’s various wrongdoings.

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* Repower withdrew from the project in Brunsbüttel, Germany in 2012. The project was cancelled the same year.


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