What is it?
Hydropower is energy generated by utilising a moving mass of water.
How does it work?
Moving water generates kinetic energy, which is then converted into mechanical energy by water mills, which in turn is converted into electrical energy.
Hydroelectric plants can be set up wherever there is a constant and sufficient water flow, always respecting the minimum vital runoff, i.e. a flow that must be maintained without further reduction so that ecosystem functioning can be protected through the delivery of a minimum and constant flow.
When we speak of mini-hydro plants, we mean a hydroelectric plant with a limited capacity. These plants, however, although small, have considerable advantages from a technical point of view as they can be built with small watercourses and require construction methods which have a low impact on the surrounding area.
Molino della Valle
FERA's mini-hydro plant is located at Molino della Valle, in the municipality of Melegnano (MI), on the last stretch of the Roggia Vettabbia Bassa, fed by the Nosedo purification plant, which treats water from the eastern part of the city of Milan.
A few mentions of the origins of Molino della Valle have been found in some books about the history of Melegnano. More information has been obtained from the current owners, Lombard noblemen who have owned the mill since its construction: the Molino della Valle has been in existence since the end of the 18th century and, since its origins, has exploited the kinetic energy of the Roggia to husk rice.
A later expansion of the system enabled electricity production and made the building electrically independent.
Around the early 70s of the last century, the mill ceased its function as a 'grain milling mill' due to changing technology and the obsolescence of the building.