ECONOMY

Edison to invest in a big way

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Edison plans to invest more than -4.5 billion ($6.17 billion) by 2013 mostly in gas, foreign activities and renewable energies, the utility’s chief executive told a newspaper on Sunday. «Over the next five to six years we will double our investment effort,» Umberto Quadrino told Italian daily Il Messaggero. «We forecast that investments over 2008-2013 will be well above the 4.5 billion euros of our previous business plan.» Quadrino said the investments would help Edison reduce its dependence on gas imports. «We have contracts with Libya, Algeria, Russia and Norway but by 2012 we plan to fulfill our needs by importing directly from producing countries: Qatar and Azerbaijan,» he added. Edison’s CEO said the company also aimed to produce 15 percent of its gas output, up from 7 percent currently. «We want to produce as well as import gas,» he said. «This will be a cornerstone of our new business plan.» Quadrino said Edison aimed to become the number two utility in Greece, where it has recently sealed a joint venture. The executive said Turkey and the Balkans were also areas of interest for Edison. Quadrino said his company wanted to raise production from renewable energy, with the aim of having 20 percent of its energy output from wind, water and sun, in line with EU requirements. Edison has completed its planned investments in the electricity sector in Italy after carrying out what the CEO said was the most extensive investment plan throughout Europe. «We have reached our goal of a 17 percent stake on the domestic market. That’s enough for the moment. We aim to grow with the market,» he said. Quadrino added that he did not see any risk of a new electricity outage as those seen in the past few years in Italy. «Our reserve margin has risen to 15-17 percent… I don’t see the risk of an outage on the horizon,» he said.