- SPE has joined its renewable energy industry peers from Italy to call on the Italian government to adopt Simplification Decree
- It would open up way for the country’s renewable energy industry to grow to be able to contribute to achieving Italy’s climate targets, they stressed
- Italy needs 7 GW of renewable energy additions annually to meet 2030 targets, but so far it has been able to add only less than 1 GW due to complicated permitting processes
Italy’s renewable energy industry has forever been calling out the government to simplify its permitting and authorization processes that will enable the industry to grow at a faster speed, aligned with its other European counterparts.
Now, the local industry has found support from European solar PV lobby association SolarPower Europe (SPE) in demanding the same from the Italian government. SPE along with WindEurope, ANEV, Anie Rinnovabili, Elettricita Futura and Italia Solare are asking Italy to adopt the Simplification Decree by the end of July 2021, to overcome permitting bottlenecks for renewable energy projects.
Saying it lacks some crucial measures, the associations also want some of the provisions of the decree to be revised, ‘starting with its provisions on repowered projects for renewables’.
The Simplification Decree is part of the Italian Recovery Plan from COVID-19 that, once adopted into a law, will simplify bureaucratic procedures for green energy to ensure investments meet the steps required for European Union’s recovery plan, NextGenerationEU.
According to the industry bodies, Italy needs to add a minimum of 7 GW renewable energy capacity annually to meet its targets under the Green Deal, but it has only been managing less than 1 GW over the past few years, thanks to the current permitting timetables. They argue that at present almost 50% of all renewable energy projects are abandoned and the other 50% are subject to 6 years of delay before they can get permits. “At this rate, our 2030 targets won’t be met until 2090,” chorused the organizations.
“The potential for solar PV is very high in Italy, but this capacity will not be reached unless administrative hurdles are overcome. Removing permitting restrictions is a necessary step to speed up solar deployment, and the process of transposing the RED II into national law is also a key opportunity to address the simplification of PV systems repowering,” said SPE CEO Walburga Hemetsberger.
Italy’s recovery and resilience plan is seeking €191.5 billion financing under the European Commission’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), of which it plans to invest €11.2 billion on developing the production and incentivizing the use of renewable energies including green hydrogen and circular economy.
A May 2021 Reuters report stated that the Simplification Decree will make it easier for firms winning public tenders to issue subcontracts to carry out the projects and this is something worker unions are not too happy about as they believe it will lead to lower wages and exploitation of workers. Culture Minister Dario Franceschini was quoted by Reuters to add that his ministry will help accelerate approval of priority projects in Italy’s Recovery Plan including renewable energy projects, but that it should not risk the country’s landscape and artistic heritage.
Recently, the European Commission gave green light for the Lithuanian recovery and resilience plan with a total budget of €2.2 billion, which its considers a good fit to enable the country recover strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic. None of the measures included in the plan significantly harm the environment, it found. This positive assessment by the EC paves the way for the country to secure €2.2 billion in grants from the EU through its NextGenerationEU program with a total budget of €800 billion (see EU Thumbs Up For €242 Million Lithuania’s RE Plan).