UPDATED: Italian renewable lobbies ask for temporary lift of obligations

Author: Federica Di

2020/03/17

LONDON (ICIS)--Italian renewable energy associations are in talks with national authorities to define a strategy that could alleviate green producers severely hit by the lockdown in the country since last week.

A temporary suspension of all administrative obligations as well as charges towards domestic regulator ARERA, grid operator Terna and the state-owned company in charge of paying subsidies GSE, appears at the core of the request made by Coordinamento Free, a platform allying all major renewable associations, together with Anev, Italian wind producers and operators’ association.

However, details are yet to be clarified.

“We are currently holding dialogues with the relevant authorities, but we are still in the process of identifying the best measures,” Davide Astiaso Garcia, director general at Coordinamento Free told ICIS on Monday.

One request could be to postpone the launch dates of new projects that were awarded capacity market contracts, he explained.

The request was also backed up by Assoidrolettrica, the leading hydropower association in Italy, which does not take part in Coordinamento Free.

The lobby’s director general Paolo Taglioli told ICIS on Monday that Italian authorities seemed aware of the necessity of such measures for averting further weakening of the industry and that their adoption will “mostly depend on technical timelines”, referring to the steps in the legislative process.

DIFFERENT TIMELINES

Although the proposal to grant renewable generators a temporary suspension of their obligations found wide consensus among industry players, a less clear position exists on how long such measures should remain in place.

In fact, while the hydropower association asked for one-year postponement, other lobby groups adopted a more conservative approach, asking for a delay of six months.

“We initially thought to ask for a suspension of only three months but, considering how the situation is quickly worsening, we decided to extend it up to six months,” said Paolo Rocco Viscontini, chairman of Italia Solare, Italy’s major photovoltaic association.

Meanwhile, GSE, the state-owned company in charge of paying renewable subsidies, announced on Tuesday it has granted a postponement of all deadlines for renewable producers up to 30 April.

CRISIS RESPONSE

The idea to free renewable players from the burden of submitting certain documents and paying charges for a limited amount of time seems a reasonable and cost-effective way to respond to the crisis.

This would suggest measures are likely to be adopted by relevant authorities.

However, the renewable associations said they recognise the government has to deal with more stringent issues, and that the energy policy will not be at the top of their agenda.

“Initially, we had drafted a very detailed document with both emergency and structural reform proposals to improve the sector”, said Paolo Rocco Viscontini, “but, in the face of such escalation of the virus, we submitted only the emergency measures.”

“Everything else would have been dismissed because there is not enough time for it,” he added.