Italy: Will the government go easy on cuts?

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"The regional conference has unanimously decided to present an amendment requesting protection for current investments and softer cuts to incentives for the future," he announced today following a meeting with regional government heads in Rome. The government is yet to present its decision.

After complaints from investors, the government looked like it was ready to reconsider its current cuts earlier this week as a government source tells Reuters. Before a meeting of regional and states officials on the incentives changes, the government source has been quoted as saying that the ministry is willing to consider reducing the size of the incentives cuts for the transitory period. The Italian government is currently in the process of getting rid of the generous incentives for solar June onwards after the boom period in the solar sector post-2005 production incentive initiation.

A group of foreign solar power investors has meanwhile stated that it has started legal proceedings against Italy over its planned cuts under a 1994 European energy charter. Photovoltaic Operators Investors (POI) which includes the likes of AES Solar Energy, Akuo Energy, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, Martifer Solar, Siliken, Solarig N-Gage and Wurth Solar, has stated that it hopes for a change in the solar decree to protect investments made thus far. POI went as far as to say that the new measures that could be implemented were probably going to be "worse, retroactive and discriminating".

The new draft support scheme would partly place a cap on the subsidies for solar developers at between €6 and €7 billion per year by the end of 2016. The installed capacity is then expected to be at approximately 23,000 megawatts. The scheme is looking at a transitory period that would last till end of 2012. This is to ensure that the investments under way are protected when the new law is passed.The decree was presented at a meeting last week but was pushed back to today in order for further analysis.

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