“White gold”: its topographical location has ensured that water has been the backbone of South Tyrol’s energy supply since the late 19th century. In 2013 South Tyrol produced 6,569 gigawatt-hours of electricity and 92% of electrical energy was generated via hydropower. “Homemade energy”, locally structured and managed: South Tyrolean players controlled 71.3% (4,320 gigawatts) of the power produced in the approximately 1000 plants (2015)  in South Tyrol.

Indigenous and responsive, 822 smaller power plants with a rated capacity of less than 220 kilowatts provide power to mainly rural areas. There are 144 plants with a rated capacity of between 220 kW and 3 megawatts. In this middle market segment the proportion of stock corporations is 68%, with 18% of these hydropower plants run by co-operatives, 11% owned by the local municipality and 3% belonging to individuals.

In 2013 the lion's share of the electricity generated in South Tyrol was produced by just 30 plants each with a rated capacity of over 3 megawatts (83.5% or 5,060 gigawatts). As regards these major producers, the joint ventures of SEL AG (controlled by the province of South Tyrol) and the Italian energy concern ENEL (SEL Hydropower: 42.01%, SF Energy: 9.52%) and Edison (Hydros: 19.90%, Seledison: 12.51%) have overwhelmingly the largest market share.

While electricity production has remained largely constant since 1977, local consumption is growing – yet South Tyrol can still today cover its own electricity consumption with indigenous hydropower. Especially in the months of May to September, production of hydropower considerably exceeds South Tyrol’s needs. As an example, in July 2009 South Tyrol consumed 236 gigawatt-hours of electrical energy while, at 543 gigawatt-hours, it produced more than twice its own requirements.

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