Renewable energy: 3.1 gigawatts in the first 9 months of 2023. But that’s not enough…

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By John

The good news is that in the first nine months of 2023, 3.1 gigawatts of new renewables were installed in Italy, and that by the end of the year this will reach over 5 gigawatts. The bad news is that it’s not enough: at least 10 gigawatts of renewables per year would need to be installed to meet European decarbonisation objectives. And the Energy Decree and the Budget Law, the companies in the sector denounce, instead of favoring clean sources, have placed new obstacles on them. According to Anie Rinnovabili, the association of green energy companies, a member of Confindustria, in the first 9 months of 2023, 3,122 megawatts of new renewable power (3.1 gigawatts) were installed in Italy, 57% more than in the same period of 2022: 2,804 Mw are photovoltaic, 305 Mw wind and 13 Mw hydroelectric. Terna, the public electricity grid company, declared before the Environment and Productive Activities Commissions of the Chamber that in 2023 there will be 5.5 – 5.8 gigawatts of new installed renewable power. This is no small progress. In 2020, just 0.8 Gw of renewables had been installed in Italy. In 2021 it went to 1.3 Gw, in 2022 to 3 Gw. The problem is that even 5.5 gigawatts in a year is not enough. To reach the European targets, Terna managers explained, we should reach between 8 and 10 Gw per year. «We can certainly appreciate an acceleration in the process», acknowledges Terna. But we are not yet at the right speed. As of September 30 of this year, green sources in our country reached 63,838 megawatts (63.8 Gw) and covered 37% of the national requirement: 4,125 Mw are bioenergy, 12,133 Mw wind, 27,816 Mw photovoltaic, 817 MW of geothermal and 18,947 MW of hydroelectric. For ten years, from 2012 to 2021, renewables had stagnated in Italy, thanks to low-priced Russian gas. Then, with the outbreak of the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine, the Draghi and Meloni governments accelerated the installation of solar panels and wind turbines, which suddenly became an issue of energy security. But the race towards green sources is not linear and obstacle-free. Anie Rinnovabili also complains that «renewable sources today produce electricity at a lower cost than fossil sources», but «these costs will increase further due to two recently introduced legislative measures», in the Energy Law Decree and in the Budget Law. Companies in the sector contest the contribution of 10 euros per kilowatt hour for 3 years imposed by the Energy Decree on managers of renewable sources above 20 kilowatts, as compensation to Regions and autonomous Provinces for the installation of the systems. Nor do we like the taxation of surface rights for the owners of the areas where wind and solar power plants are located. Furthermore, companies continue to report that “the main problem lies in unblocking the authorization processes” and that “the authorization difficulties are added to those of inflation and the high cost of money”.