Italy and Spain warned by EU over renewables

Former solar role models Italy and Spain have become the latest two member states to have a rap on the knuckles from the EU for failing to fully comply with Brussels’ renewables directive.

Under the agreement, passed in December 2010, member states committed to generating 20% of the EU’s energy from renewables by 2020, including 10% of transport fuels.

As part of the directive, member states have to fully transpose the measure into national legislation, including outlining rules on how to hit the target, for instance by improving grid access for renewables, administering and planning for renewables generation and providing information and training for installers of solar, wind, biomass and biogas.

A press release from the EU on Thursday, outlining infringements of European legislation from member states in September, revealed the governments of Italy and Spain had received a ‘reasonable opinion’ from the EC, outlining the infringement.

Italy, formerly number two in the world for the adoption of solar and Spain, which enjoyed an explosion in renewable generation five years ago that saw it exporting green energy, are not the only member states to be ticked off by Brussels.

19 member states have been warned over renewables

The press released indicated 17 other miscreants, meaning 19 of the union’s 28 member states have failed to fully toe the line on renewables.

Under EU rules, the two latest offenders have two months to transpose the directive fully into national law or could face punishment from the European Court of Justice.

Italian prime minister Enrico Letta in particular, could be forgiven for having higher priorities as the country’s latest Silvio Berlusoni-inspired political crisis appears set to prompt a vote of confidence in his fragile five-month old governing coalition on Wednesday.

By the time any renewables-prompted action is taken by the European Court of Jutice, Italy could be governed by a politician serving house arrest or performing community service for tax fraud but, in Berlusconi, it would at least have a leader well-versed in evading the justice system.