Italian parties fall short on wind as election looms

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Ilaria Valtimora
March 2, 2018
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This content is from our archive. Some formatting or links may be broken.
Italian parties fall short on wind as election looms

Italians are due to go to the polls this Sunday. Well, unless you're an ex-pat like me. I sent in my postal vote last week.

And, while I have been living in the UK for the past four years, I can’t ignore that this is a crucial vote for my country. Over the last ten years Italy has had five prime ministers, and this election could be the chance for Italian citizens to elect a stable government that might last five years. We can hope.

The problem is that it's been tough to choose between the parties on offer because there is a lack of clarity about their future plans, and their programmes for renewables are a good example of this uncertainty. It's unlikely that wind investors will get much clarity even when the votes are counted.

The Democratic Party led by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, the populist 5Star Movement, and the centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi have all mentioned their support for renewables in their election campaigns, but a closer look at their programmes reveal the lack of any clear plans to put this into action.

And this is despite the fact that Italy could benefit from bolstering renewable energy. The country relies on other nations to meet about 86% of its energy requirements, and so unleashing its renewables potential could help to mitigate this risk.

Italy also has great wind and solar resources, in particular on the major islands and in the south, but currently these only satisfy around 17% of the country’s energy needs.

In June 2016, Renzi’s government signed a ministerial decree to support the growth of renewables other than photovoltaic, and introduced competitive auctions. It held a first auction in December 2016, and awarded support for 870MW renewables capacity – of which 800MW was onshore wind and 30MW was offshore wind.

However, Renzi resigned in December 2016 after Italians rejected a referendum on reforming the constitution, and so the auctions stalled. So, what do the parties intend to do now?

The most pro-renewables party is definitely the populist 5Star Movement. It would set a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050 and it would aim to phase out the use of fossil fuels by 2020, while encouraging the use of electric vehicles.

That shows good commitment, but it lacks clarity. There is little detail over how they would attract renewable energy investors; whether they planned to support this using competitive auctions; or if it would mean establishing new support mechanisms.

The infiltration of mafia organisations in renewables, particularly in the south, and the lack of capacity in parts of the electricity grid would both have negative effects on the development of new wind projects. These are big questions that are unanswered.

It isn’t just 5Star shying away from these tough questions. Other parties are too.

I expected to find more detail about the Democratic Party’s plans, following the commitment shown by Renzi in his last government, but it isn't there. The party said it would aim for 55% renewables by 2030 and to phase out fossil fuels by 2025, but with no mention on how to achieve that.

Finally, Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition only mentions in one line of its manifesto that it supports renewable energy. Nothing more.

I don’t know which way the election will go, but what I do know is that Italy desperately needs a stable government that can unleash the potential of its natural resources. For that, it needs concrete solutions and a clear investment plan. And none of the parties have been able to show any of these so far.

Italians are due to go to the polls this Sunday. Well, unless you're an ex-pat like me. I sent in my postal vote last week.

And, while I have been living in the UK for the past four years, I can’t ignore that this is a crucial vote for my country. Over the last ten years Italy has had five prime ministers, and this election could be the chance for Italian citizens to elect a stable government that might last five years. We can hope.

The problem is that it's been tough to choose between the parties on offer because there is a lack of clarity about their future plans, and their programmes for renewables are a good example of this uncertainty. It's unlikely that wind investors will get much clarity even when the votes are counted.

The Democratic Party led by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, the populist 5Star Movement, and the centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi have all mentioned their support for renewables in their election campaigns, but a closer look at their programmes reveal the lack of any clear plans to put this into action.

And this is despite the fact that Italy could benefit from bolstering renewable energy. The country relies on other nations to meet about 86% of its energy requirements, and so unleashing its renewables potential could help to mitigate this risk.

Italy also has great wind and solar resources, in particular on the major islands and in the south, but currently these only satisfy around 17% of the country’s energy needs.

In June 2016, Renzi’s government signed a ministerial decree to support the growth of renewables other than photovoltaic, and introduced competitive auctions. It held a first auction in December 2016, and awarded support for 870MW renewables capacity – of which 800MW was onshore wind and 30MW was offshore wind.

However, Renzi resigned in December 2016 after Italians rejected a referendum on reforming the constitution, and so the auctions stalled. So, what do the parties intend to do now?

The most pro-renewables party is definitely the populist 5Star Movement. It would set a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050 and it would aim to phase out the use of fossil fuels by 2020, while encouraging the use of electric vehicles.

That shows good commitment, but it lacks clarity. There is little detail over how they would attract renewable energy investors; whether they planned to support this using competitive auctions; or if it would mean establishing new support mechanisms.

The infiltration of mafia organisations in renewables, particularly in the south, and the lack of capacity in parts of the electricity grid would both have negative effects on the development of new wind projects. These are big questions that are unanswered.

It isn’t just 5Star shying away from these tough questions. Other parties are too.

I expected to find more detail about the Democratic Party’s plans, following the commitment shown by Renzi in his last government, but it isn't there. The party said it would aim for 55% renewables by 2030 and to phase out fossil fuels by 2025, but with no mention on how to achieve that.

Finally, Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition only mentions in one line of its manifesto that it supports renewable energy. Nothing more.

I don’t know which way the election will go, but what I do know is that Italy desperately needs a stable government that can unleash the potential of its natural resources. For that, it needs concrete solutions and a clear investment plan. And none of the parties have been able to show any of these so far.

Italians are due to go to the polls this Sunday. Well, unless you're an ex-pat like me. I sent in my postal vote last week.

And, while I have been living in the UK for the past four years, I can’t ignore that this is a crucial vote for my country. Over the last ten years Italy has had five prime ministers, and this election could be the chance for Italian citizens to elect a stable government that might last five years. We can hope.

The problem is that it's been tough to choose between the parties on offer because there is a lack of clarity about their future plans, and their programmes for renewables are a good example of this uncertainty. It's unlikely that wind investors will get much clarity even when the votes are counted.

The Democratic Party led by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, the populist 5Star Movement, and the centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi have all mentioned their support for renewables in their election campaigns, but a closer look at their programmes reveal the lack of any clear plans to put this into action.

And this is despite the fact that Italy could benefit from bolstering renewable energy. The country relies on other nations to meet about 86% of its energy requirements, and so unleashing its renewables potential could help to mitigate this risk.

Italy also has great wind and solar resources, in particular on the major islands and in the south, but currently these only satisfy around 17% of the country’s energy needs.

In June 2016, Renzi’s government signed a ministerial decree to support the growth of renewables other than photovoltaic, and introduced competitive auctions. It held a first auction in December 2016, and awarded support for 870MW renewables capacity – of which 800MW was onshore wind and 30MW was offshore wind.

However, Renzi resigned in December 2016 after Italians rejected a referendum on reforming the constitution, and so the auctions stalled. So, what do the parties intend to do now?

The most pro-renewables party is definitely the populist 5Star Movement. It would set a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050 and it would aim to phase out the use of fossil fuels by 2020, while encouraging the use of electric vehicles.

That shows good commitment, but it lacks clarity. There is little detail over how they would attract renewable energy investors; whether they planned to support this using competitive auctions; or if it would mean establishing new support mechanisms.

The infiltration of mafia organisations in renewables, particularly in the south, and the lack of capacity in parts of the electricity grid would both have negative effects on the development of new wind projects. These are big questions that are unanswered.

It isn’t just 5Star shying away from these tough questions. Other parties are too.

I expected to find more detail about the Democratic Party’s plans, following the commitment shown by Renzi in his last government, but it isn't there. The party said it would aim for 55% renewables by 2030 and to phase out fossil fuels by 2025, but with no mention on how to achieve that.

Finally, Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition only mentions in one line of its manifesto that it supports renewable energy. Nothing more.

I don’t know which way the election will go, but what I do know is that Italy desperately needs a stable government that can unleash the potential of its natural resources. For that, it needs concrete solutions and a clear investment plan. And none of the parties have been able to show any of these so far.

Italians are due to go to the polls this Sunday. Well, unless you're an ex-pat like me. I sent in my postal vote last week.

And, while I have been living in the UK for the past four years, I can’t ignore that this is a crucial vote for my country. Over the last ten years Italy has had five prime ministers, and this election could be the chance for Italian citizens to elect a stable government that might last five years. We can hope.

The problem is that it's been tough to choose between the parties on offer because there is a lack of clarity about their future plans, and their programmes for renewables are a good example of this uncertainty. It's unlikely that wind investors will get much clarity even when the votes are counted.

The Democratic Party led by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, the populist 5Star Movement, and the centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi have all mentioned their support for renewables in their election campaigns, but a closer look at their programmes reveal the lack of any clear plans to put this into action.

And this is despite the fact that Italy could benefit from bolstering renewable energy. The country relies on other nations to meet about 86% of its energy requirements, and so unleashing its renewables potential could help to mitigate this risk.

Italy also has great wind and solar resources, in particular on the major islands and in the south, but currently these only satisfy around 17% of the country’s energy needs.

In June 2016, Renzi’s government signed a ministerial decree to support the growth of renewables other than photovoltaic, and introduced competitive auctions. It held a first auction in December 2016, and awarded support for 870MW renewables capacity – of which 800MW was onshore wind and 30MW was offshore wind.

However, Renzi resigned in December 2016 after Italians rejected a referendum on reforming the constitution, and so the auctions stalled. So, what do the parties intend to do now?

The most pro-renewables party is definitely the populist 5Star Movement. It would set a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050 and it would aim to phase out the use of fossil fuels by 2020, while encouraging the use of electric vehicles.

That shows good commitment, but it lacks clarity. There is little detail over how they would attract renewable energy investors; whether they planned to support this using competitive auctions; or if it would mean establishing new support mechanisms.

The infiltration of mafia organisations in renewables, particularly in the south, and the lack of capacity in parts of the electricity grid would both have negative effects on the development of new wind projects. These are big questions that are unanswered.

It isn’t just 5Star shying away from these tough questions. Other parties are too.

I expected to find more detail about the Democratic Party’s plans, following the commitment shown by Renzi in his last government, but it isn't there. The party said it would aim for 55% renewables by 2030 and to phase out fossil fuels by 2025, but with no mention on how to achieve that.

Finally, Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition only mentions in one line of its manifesto that it supports renewable energy. Nothing more.

I don’t know which way the election will go, but what I do know is that Italy desperately needs a stable government that can unleash the potential of its natural resources. For that, it needs concrete solutions and a clear investment plan. And none of the parties have been able to show any of these so far.

Italians are due to go to the polls this Sunday. Well, unless you're an ex-pat like me. I sent in my postal vote last week.

And, while I have been living in the UK for the past four years, I can’t ignore that this is a crucial vote for my country. Over the last ten years Italy has had five prime ministers, and this election could be the chance for Italian citizens to elect a stable government that might last five years. We can hope.

The problem is that it's been tough to choose between the parties on offer because there is a lack of clarity about their future plans, and their programmes for renewables are a good example of this uncertainty. It's unlikely that wind investors will get much clarity even when the votes are counted.

The Democratic Party led by former prime minister Matteo Renzi, the populist 5Star Movement, and the centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi have all mentioned their support for renewables in their election campaigns, but a closer look at their programmes reveal the lack of any clear plans to put this into action.

And this is despite the fact that Italy could benefit from bolstering renewable energy. The country relies on other nations to meet about 86% of its energy requirements, and so unleashing its renewables potential could help to mitigate this risk.

Italy also has great wind and solar resources, in particular on the major islands and in the south, but currently these only satisfy around 17% of the country’s energy needs.

In June 2016, Renzi’s government signed a ministerial decree to support the growth of renewables other than photovoltaic, and introduced competitive auctions. It held a first auction in December 2016, and awarded support for 870MW renewables capacity – of which 800MW was onshore wind and 30MW was offshore wind.

However, Renzi resigned in December 2016 after Italians rejected a referendum on reforming the constitution, and so the auctions stalled. So, what do the parties intend to do now?

The most pro-renewables party is definitely the populist 5Star Movement. It would set a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050 and it would aim to phase out the use of fossil fuels by 2020, while encouraging the use of electric vehicles.

That shows good commitment, but it lacks clarity. There is little detail over how they would attract renewable energy investors; whether they planned to support this using competitive auctions; or if it would mean establishing new support mechanisms.

The infiltration of mafia organisations in renewables, particularly in the south, and the lack of capacity in parts of the electricity grid would both have negative effects on the development of new wind projects. These are big questions that are unanswered.

It isn’t just 5Star shying away from these tough questions. Other parties are too.

I expected to find more detail about the Democratic Party’s plans, following the commitment shown by Renzi in his last government, but it isn't there. The party said it would aim for 55% renewables by 2030 and to phase out fossil fuels by 2025, but with no mention on how to achieve that.

Finally, Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition only mentions in one line of its manifesto that it supports renewable energy. Nothing more.

I don’t know which way the election will go, but what I do know is that Italy desperately needs a stable government that can unleash the potential of its natural resources. For that, it needs concrete solutions and a clear investment plan. And none of the parties have been able to show any of these so far.

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Not a member yet?

Become a member of the 6,500-strong A Word About Wind community today, and gain access to our premium content, exclusive lead generation and investment opportunities.