"Carlo Esterle" hydroelectric power plant - Cornate D'Adda (MI)

"Carlo Esterle" hydroelectric power plant - Cornate D'Adda (MI)


The A. Bertini power plant was inaugurated in 1898 and was the biggest hydroelectric power station in Europe. That led to a tenfold increase in Edison's electricity output compared to the output from the first thermoelectric power plant, the Santa Radegonda one. However, the skyrocketing consumption quickly made this facility, which once seemed enormously productive, unable to meet the demand.   

The success of the Bertini facility and the technological improvements in terms of energy transportation spurred Edison to design more hydroelectric power plants, in more remote and isolated locations. However, the Adda river continued to power Milan and its hinterland.

The Esterle power station is renowned for its architectonical beauty, as the building is an example of the evolution of the eclectic architecture tradition of Lombardy. With its exquisite embellishments, the intricate geometric and floral motifs, the columns and capitals at the entrance, wrought-iron lampposts and drainpipes and the majestic, Gothic-inspired glass walls, it looks certainly more like a villa than like a simple industrial building. 

Inside the building, the walls and ceilings were accurately decorated; the floors, the lampposts, the lamps and the numerous wrought-iron elements are also worth a mention.

A lot more thought was given to the architecture of this facility than the Bertini; it is the expressing example of a kind of monumental architecture applied to industry, which testified to the importance this facility had for Edison at that time.

The facility has refurbished and revamped a few times since 1998. Thus, it can be considered a modern facility in terms of technology, reliability, and yield, but the refurbishments have always respected the integrity of the original structure, not only in terms of the building itself, but also in terms of machinery, to the point where the intervention is hardly noticeable. One thing worth mentioning, for example, is that although a new control panel room was set up, carefully concealed from view, the old, valuable equipment has been preserved.  

How the facility works

The facility is part of the chain of hydroelectric power plants of the Adda river, involving the municipalities of Robbiate (LC) and Cornate d’Adda (MI). The chain consists of the “Carlo Esterle”, “Guido Semenza” and “Angelo Bertini” power plants. 

La centrale idroelettrica in 3D

La centrale idroelettrica in 3D

Main features

Via Alzaia 1 - 20040 Cornate d’Adda (MI)
23 MW
178,60 GWh

run of the river

Staff and operation control

Operating staff
8 (1 manager, 1 deputy manager, 1 facility engineer, 4 maintenance engineers, 1 administrative clerk)
Operation control and data transmission
The facility is operated from the Venina Operations Centre.
3 watchmen of the Robbiate dam