The company as a stakeholder

[GRI - 102-22], [GRI - 102-23], [GRI - 102-28], [GRI - 102-29], [GRI - 203-1],


Acea protects and enhances its tangible and intangible assets, pursuing a sustainable financial position and governing the internal needs, linked to the operating management and the growth prospects, consistently with the aims expressed in the business mission and the strategic plan.

In 2023 investments totalled around  1,142.7 million, up 8.8% (€ 1,050 million in 2022), with around 88% destined for regulated business. These were distributed by business segment as follows: € 38.9 million for the Environment sector, in particular plant improvements for WTE plants and the plastic sorting system; € 50.2 million for the Commercial sector, up slightly, for customer acquisition, smart services and e-mobility; € 682.4 million for the Water sector, with a combination of higher investments by Gori and the change in the scope, as well as lower investments by Acea Ato 2; € 4.7 million for the Engineering and Services sector, mainly linked to Acea Infrastructure; € 299.6 million for the Energy Infrastructure sector, for projects on the HV/MV/ LV networks, on substations and to replace 2G and remote control metering groups; € 41.1 million for the Generation sector, to construct photovoltaic systems on agricultural and industrial land and for the updating and maintenance of hydroelectric systems. Finally, the Parent Company and Overseas with investments for about € 20.1 million and € 5.7 million, respectively.

Chart no. 48 – Breakdown and investments by macro-area (2022-2023)

Chart 48

Depreciation, amortisation, provisions and write-downs amounted to approximately € 778 million (+5.2% compared to 2022). The increase in amortisation/depreciation is mainly linked to investments and assets which began to be used, as well as new customer acquisition costs for Acea Energia; write-downs fell (-23.7% circa with reference to 2022) due to excellent performance with reference to collections and, in the water sector, certain extraordinary components and the favourable completion of certain credit settlements.


Scientific and technological innovation at the service of business processes is one of the pillars of the Group’s strategic planning, an area in which it invested over € 2.6 million in 2023.
At Acea, innovation is a cross-sectional strategic lever that is open to the external ecosystem; through its innovative approach, the Group aims to explore new businesses and create new development models.

The innovation model adopted by Acea identifies internal needs and areas of interest and implemented typical Open Innovation processes, with the collective generation of ideas and the involvement of internal and external stakeholders starting from the conception process, moving on to trialling, to the implementation of the projects. According to this logic, the promotion of the Group’s culture of innovation and the  development of internal entrepreneurship are fundamental.
In addition, the Innovation Model provides for the use of market analysis, continuous scouting and partnership development, at the national and international levels, with actors from the innovation ecosystem engaged in sectors of strategic interest to the Group. To this end, in 2023 Acea participated in the following programmes:

  • the Osservatorio Digital Innovation [Digital Innovation Observatory] of the Polytechnic University of Milan, a point of reference for digital innovation in Italy, in which Acea participates through the Startup Intelligence Observatory, a community of discussion and open innovation at the apex of innovation.
  • Zero Accelerator, the startup accelerator born from the collaboration between the National Network CDP Venture Capital SGR - Fondo Nazionale Innovazione, Eni, LVenture Group and ELIS to support the best startups and innovative SMEs that develop projects and solutions in the greentech/cleantech field aimed at minimising carbon impact, facilitating the reduction of emissions, optimising the waste cycle by speeding up energy transition processes and promoting the circular economy;
  • ROAD – Rome Advanced District, a project developed in co- operation with ENI, Autostrade per l’Italia, Cisco, Ferrovie dello Stato, Bridgestone and NextChem, to create an advanced knowledge and research centre to develop solutions to support the ecological transition and sustainable development.

With reference to the Group’s industrial processes and infrastructure, the following boxes illustrate, by way of example, the main research and innovation projects carried out in 2023 by Acea SpA, Acea In- novation, Acea Infrastructure and the other Group companies.

We also recall what has already been illustrated in the paragraph Re- lations with institutions, and in particular Projects for the innovative and sustainable development of the territory, Customers and the community and the section Relations with the environment.


In 2023, in cooperation with Areti and the start-up Start Smart, Acea SpA continued its experiments with using virtual reality to train personnel for work in hazardous environments, such as con- fined spaces. In particular, the platform was expanded with the development of a new training application for multi-user substation manoeuvres, with reference both to the on site operator and the control room operator.


In 2023, the company Acea Innovation continued the development of electric mobility functions. In particular, it enhanced the propri- etary BOMTS platform by adding additional functions, including:

  • IPaDS (Illegal parking Detection System) to encourage proper
    use of charging infrastructure, discouraging illegal parking and supporting municipalities with monitoring of bays, with an intel- ligent video camera system;
  • NOSE: a multi-parameter control systems to identify and mon- itor various gaseous compounds.
  • As part of its activities in the sale of electricity and gas commod- ities and non-commodity services, Acea Energia has launched  and/or completed the following innovative projects:
  • the new “sales funnel”, relaunched in April, with more stable and dynamic architecture and improved customer experience;
  • digital sales on the D2D channel;
  • a new design for the reserved web area, aligned with the app, to further improve the digital experience for customers;
  • the development of new functions on the app to reduce telephone calls;
  • activation of the new customer data platform (CDP);
  • improvement of web bill navigation, allowing customers to simultaneously activate digital services.


In 2023, Areti implemented several innovative projects as part of its electricity distribution activities, including:

  • the PlatOne project, financed by the European programme Horrizon 2020, intended to develop and test technological solutions and new market schemes capable of enabling the flexibility of the utilities connected to the distribution network, with the aim of promoting transparent and inclusive participation of end customers in the electrical flexibility market. The project involves public and private organisations operating in Italy, Greece, Belgium, and Germany, under the coordination of RWTH Aachen University in Germany and Areti coordinates the Italian trial implemented in the Rome area. The pilot is based on a multi-platform architecture which, using blockchain technology, simulates a local flexibility market, enabling the users connected to the distribution network to provide services to the local and global electricity system. Acea Energia is an aggregator of the project, gathering availability of end customers and offering them to the market, before then distributing the revenues with those customers;
  • the European BeFlexible project, launched in 2022 with the involvement of other  organisations, including Enel Group, Terna and RSE, is intended to test the use of flexibility services as well as the synergy between the electricity system and other sectors for the stability and security of the grid. The project aims to define and standardise a catalogue of flexibility services, shared with the stakeholders involved in the project (grid operators, dispatching users, aggregators, prosumers, technology providers) and to trial, through the use of technological solutions developed in other European projects, a common market mod- el for the supply of such services, promoting the involvement of end customers and synergy across sectors (gas, water, heat, mobility, etc.). Areti participates in the initiative by enhancing the architecture developed in the PlatOne project;
  • the Flow project, financed by the Directorate-General for Energy of the European Commission, intended to identify technological solutions and coordination methods with all actors involved which allow for a management of electric mobility with respect for grid security and quality of service. The project, launched in 2022, involves various organisations, coordinated by Spain’s IREC, including Enel Group, Terna, Engineering SpA and RSE. Again in this case, Areti participates in the project by enhancing the architecture developed as part of the PlatOne project;
  • the RomeFlex pilot project, financed by ARERA and aimed at creating a flexibility market for the electricity grid across the Rome area, expanding the trial already in place with the PlatOne project. In December 2023, Areti launched a public consultation to allow stakeholders to make comments about the regulations required for application of the trial;
  • the POLEDRIC project, for the construction, in Rome, of a type of intelligent public lighting pole, able to improve the service, through sensors and advanced technologies, and enable additional environmental, security and communication services, from a smart city perspective (environmental sensors, traffic and parking monitoring sensors, video surveillance and video analysis, etc.);
  • evolution of the G.I.M.M.I. (Massive and Targeted Infrastructure Inspection Management) project, to reduce undiscovered faults on overhead lines and asset monitoring, through periodic analysis of satellite images and targeted drone inspections; in 2023, the media data storage platform was launched, for smart storage and consultation of videos and pictures taken during inspections, additionally, the process to begin inspections was im- proved, by integrating the satellite alert platform and SAP;
  • the project Automation of Low Voltage Lines, aimed at enabling remote control and automating the reclosure of low voltage lines from the secondary substation on disconnection for excess power; The mass installation of the solution continued in 2023 and was optimised utilising evidence from the field;
  • the Bilateral LTE Automation project, which involves the implementation of a field automation solution to select the fault line and uses the 4G network to connect the switches along the line. In 2023, the mass installations of the solution continued and the evolution of central device management platform were launched for the remote management of peripheral Industrial IoT devices that support other remote and service monitoring solutions in secondary substations;
  • Areti’s single Data Lake, operating on Google Cloud;
  • experimentation with solutions to identify burnt out public lighting points.


With the aim of improving its operational performance, in collabo- ration with Acea Infrastructure, Acea Ato 2 implemented research activities and technological-digital innovation on:

  • the satellite radar technique Intasar Monitoring required to
    monitor the stability of elevated structures on the ground (e.g. tanks) with specially designed reflectors to improve accuracy and resolution;
  • monitoring of emerging organic micropollutants (EOM) and endocrine disruptors in the wastewater of medium- to large- sized plants, selected according to process scheme and territorial location; in 2023 monitoring activities continued at the CoBIS and Roma Sud plants and those of the Tiber River relating to environmental risk assessment and analysis;
  • the execution of rapid small scale column tests (RSSCT) on water treated by the large drinking water plants in Grottarossa and Montanciano, to forecast the useful life of granular active carbon (GAC) filters and their ability to eliminate emergent or- ganic micropollutants;
  • constant monitoring of outgoing data from the Grottarossa drinking water plant, thanks to the installation of residual chlorine meters specific for chlorine dioxide for more reliable data reading;
  • the start of laboratory testing to change the pH of raw water coming into the Grottarossa drinking water plant to improve the efficiency of the clariflocculation process;
  • installation of an arsenic analyser connected to the remote control over the Montanciano drinking water plant, for continuous monitoring of the concentration of this contaminant, to achieve automated dosing of iron chloride;
  • the optimisation of the disinfection treatment at the Mont- anciano plant through the reduction of the dosage of sodium hypochlorite and product quality control with the aim of intercepting non-compliant discharges and reducing the level of chlorates in the water distributed to protect the health of consumers;
  • the creation of a model to estimate the load capacity of the filter material at the Pescarella drinking water plant, based on the chemical composition of the incoming water and the flow rates processed by each filter, for the purpose of prolonging the lifetime of the filter material and creating uniform wear and tear of the filters;
  • the monitoring of the trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene parameters and the study of the abatement capacity of the filter media at the Laurentino drinking water plant, for the purpose of upgrading its performance and optimising resources thanks to the reduction of the supply/regeneration cycles of adsorbent material and disposal of spent material, guaranteeing the compliance of the water distributed;
  • the use of drones to monitor confined spaces using artificial vision and LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) mapping.
  • In terms of drinking water processing and purification, the following activities were carried out:
  • the characterisation of the floating residue from the desanding/ de-oiling process of urban wastewater and assessment of the best treatment technologies;
  • conclusion of the full-scale experimentation of Taron technology at the Santa Fumia wastewater treatment plant, which uses a dynamic rotating disc filtration system that combines secondary sedimentation and tertiary filtration in a single step, optimising the wastewater treatment process;
  • conclusion of the study on lysis technologies for optimising biogas/biomethane production from anaerobic digestion plants at some purification plants.
  • With regard to innovation applied to the management of water distribution networks new generation techniques - satellite, noise recorder and fibre optics - were tested for hidden leak detection (Noise Logger and Satellite Radar Interferometry).
  • In addition, with the aim of forecasting the availability of water resources, Acea Ato 2 has implemented a machine-learning algorithm based on the random forest technique to identify meteorological proxies (temperature and/or precipitation) or management proxies (volumes drawn) correlated to the variability of the state of preservation of the resource, with reference to the dierent collection sources (springs, well fields, etc.)

AdF carried out many innovative projects during the year, including:

  • a deep dive on the use of artificial intelligence to enable added value services and sustainable innovationdashboards to optimise data exposure, based on artificial intelligence applied to mass data to balance the availability of the same in near-real time with the need to verify quality and reliability;
  • the innovative Flùvia project, based on proactive artificial intelligence and the use of natural language to improve customer experience when navigating the institutional website, also improving accessibility and inclusivity;
  • a Cyber Security Plan.

Additionally, AdF, in cooperation with SIMAM, completed experiments on the production of biomethane with zero CO" emissions from EER 190805 waste (sludge produced through treatment of urban waste water) at the Sant’Angelo plant in Senigallia, using patented ASAC®technology and, to optimise energy consumption and predictive maintenance, began developing a dashboard to monitor energy performance and identify possible anomalies at the main water plants, using data acquired via remote control and machine learning.
Finally, Gori carried out the following research and innovation projects during the year:

  • the DEPOX project, to develop and implement at the Scafati
  • treatment plant an “in house” control to manage and optimise the biological segment through timed “start and stop” cycles for the blowers;
  • the Asset Management project to use software for maintenance activities, verification of proper functioning and calibration of laboratory tools.


Acea Infrastructure, carried out a number of projects serving Group companies and in cooperation with universities and research organisations in 2023, including the development of sensors for online measurement of CECs, use of screens coming from purification and feasibility studies on recovering phosphorus from the sludge line on purification plants.

During the year, cooperation continued with the Department of Translational and Precision Medicine at La Sapienza University in Rome, for the development of advanced analysis and diagnostic methods to evaluate the weight of exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the progression of metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). To that end, more than 20 samples of human serum were analysed to find PFAS and other emerging contaminants.

With reference to the innovation of business processes, it should be noted that Acea Infrastracture has BIM (Building Information Modelling) certification for engineering design, which employs intelligent digital models throughout a project’s entire life cycle and works on seven dimensions, visualising not only progress and costs, but also the sustainability of the project and encouraging the implementation of choices oriented towards a positive impact on the environment.


In 2023, research and innovation activities were carried out in the Environment sector, including the ACEA NOSE project, experimenting with an air quality measurement control unit installed on drones, utilising flight campaigns; the last campaign occurred at the Acea Ambiente location in Monterotondo Marittimo.

Also during the year, the design stages were completed with reference to recovery of sodium bicarbonate and calcium chloride dihydrate from treatment of fly-ash to reduce the hazardous characteristics of the matrix, as well as to make use of mixed plastics (plasmix), with production of marketable pure methanol.