Renewable energy expert Gianni Silvestrini, Scientific Director of the Kyoto Club, provides us with insightful information on the green wave upon which Italy is reconstructing: the focus for the post-COVID scenario is green energy, solar community and innovation for PV systems.
According to the National Energy and Climate plan published in January 2020, Italy will have to install 31 GW of new solar PV plants and 9.3 GW of new wind turbines by 2030, when the renewable production is expected to satisfy 55% of the electric demand. Considering that, in the last six years, the electricity increase deriving from renewables has been quite marginal. Nonetheless, there are rising expectations for a big jump from 2021 on.
In 2019 new PV installations reached only 0,74 GW, but in order to reach the 2030 targets a yearly increase of 3 GW is needed. Further analysing the accepted renewable connection applications, there was a strong power increase in 2018, with 6.4 GW, compared to 1.5 GW in 2017. From 2019 to 2021 seven renewable tenders will allocate 6,2 GW for plants larger than 1 MW. The first auction for 500 MW has been almost completely won by wind projects. The next three auctions will have a contracted capacity of 700 MW each and the final two will be of 800 MW each.
The use of PPA in the Italian market is gaining momentum: not only more than 500 MW have been signed throughout 2019, but also before the Covid-19 crisis, the market parity scenario was favourable to investments financed via PPAs. According to Ref-E consultants, 3 GW of wind and 5 GW solar projects are in the PPAs permitting pipeline. Among those, increasing interests are revolving around the innovations of Agrivoltaics, a new win-win system which combines food, energy production and jobs. This system is being adopted in Sicily where many fields and land have been abandoned in the past years.
Looking at the future, the post – COVID recovery strategy may result in a push for the renewable sector with a positive economic outlook in the mid-term in Italy. One of the most discussed topics, in fact, includes the reduction of the inefficient authorisation processes and the facilitation of decentralized PV diffusion.
At the present time, 850.000 are the active solar systems, which are forecasted to increase with the adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive by June 2021: this will especially accelerate the adoption of Solar Communities. A partial move towards this direction has been extensively obtained with a decree approved last March, allowing to install 200 kW systems and distribute electricity for families living in of multi-storey buildings.
The author – Gianni Silvestrini is an expert in energy efficiency since 1983 at the Italian National Research Council and the Polytechnic University of Milan. At Polimi, he launched the Master Degree RIDEF– Reinventing energy, partnering with numerous energy lead companies to build the future generation of professionals in the energy sector. He has covered institutional roles as the General Director at the Ministry of Environment and as Energy Advisor for the Ministry of Economic Development. He is the scientific director of the Kyoto Club, of Qualenergia.it, KeyEnergy and president of Exalto.
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