Italian minister of economic development, Flavio Zanon has announced reforms to Italy’s renewable energy incentives.
The minister aims to cap renewables incentives spending to €9 billion annually for a 20 year period, extended from the current 18 year period, releasing €3 billion (US$4 billion) to ease electricity bills.
The national annual bill for renewables incentives currently stands at €10 billion – mostly for PV projects – and is predicted to increase to €12 billion in the next few years. The current budget for feed in tariffs is €6.7 billion a year for the next 18-20 years, and a further €5 billion for other renewable subsidies according to the Italian Photovoltaic Companies Group (Gruppo Imprese Fotovoltaiche Italiane, GIFI).
A GIFI spokesman told PV Tech there is no official statement, but €3 billion (US$4 billion) is the figure given as “immediate savings generated” by extending the renewables incentive payment period, which pays renewable electricity producers for feeding excess energy to the national grid.
GIFI also said more announcements can be expected this week on the reforms, but GIFI does not see reforms having “any direct impact on the [solar] industry…this is more a measure for a better management of [Italy’s] debt.”
On 2 August minister Zanon wrote to the Authority for Electricity and Gas addressing the need to reform energy regulations to ease energy costs in the economic downturn and aid economic recovery.
The previous ‘Conto Energia V’ incentive scheme expired 6 July after Italian PV hit the €6 billion (US$8 billion) funding ceiling, since then no PV incentives have been rewarded. The programme set €500 million (US$662 million) per year for renewables, with €200 million (US$265 million) set aside for PV annually.
Compared with the rest of the EU, Italy has a very high rate of energy imports. The EU goal to implement 20% renewable energy generation by 2020 is part of Italy’s energy policy to lessen dependence on imports.
PV is dominant in Italy’s renewables sector thanks to incentives and high solar radiation attracting developers from across the globe, especially in southern Italy.