Italy’s 2030 National Energy & Climate Plan must outline a proactive approach to repowering of wind turbines, simplified permitting of wind farm, and a regulatory framework for corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) if Italy is to meet its 2030 renewable energy objectives.
This was WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson’s message at the ‘The wind of energy transition’ event taking place on 29 November in Rome.
Italy is the fifth country in terms of cumulative installations in Europe with 10 GW of onshore wind energy currently installed. Wind power already supplies 6% of the domestic power demand annually. The draft National Energy & Climate Plans looks at almost doubling that capacity by 2030. But the measures to deliver on that goal need to be significantly strengthened in the one month Italy has left to submit its final Plan to the European Commission.
WindEurope stressed that the fulfillment of Italy’s 2030 ambitions will only be possible if three key policy priorities are delivered:
- Allowing repowering: The “spalma-incentivi volontario” rule currently forces wind farms to operate their existing wind turbines to their bitter end. It prevents operators from replacing them with more efficient machines that would operate at much lower cost and produce much more energy. Italy could lose 3.4 GW of wind energy capacity in the short run.
- Simplifying permitting and allowing for technology upgrades: Italy should appoint a single authority coordinating permit decisions and ensure final decisions are taken within three years from the permit application, as required now in EU law. Due to delays in the permitting process, Italy has 3 GW of permitted wind farms waiting to be built that want to upgrade their technology, but this is not possible because the original permit application was made on a different technology. Allowing wind farm developers to deploy the latest technology when they build a wind farm should be a priority. This would mean more efficient wind farms and saving everyone’s money.
- Supporting the development of corporate renewable PPAs: Corporate renewable Power Purchase Agreements are direct power supply contracts between large energy consumers and wind farms. The Duferdofin Nucor steel company have just signed one with a wind farm in north Italy. Many more industrial consumers want to follow this path. The public sector may also have an important role in this as an off-taker.
The event was organised by the World Energy Council Italy and supported by WindEurope’s Italian members ERG, Elettricità Futura and ANEV. Participants included Gilberto Dialuce, Director-General for Electricity Market, Renewables and Energy Efficiency at the Ministry of Economic Development, the European Commission and senior officials from Energy Ministries in the UK and Estonia.