Italy devotes €1.1bn to agrivoltaics, €2bn to energy communities and storage


The Italian government has revealed it will invest €1.1 billion in supporting agrivoltaics, as part of its €220 billion, post-Covid recovery plan.

The plan envisages deploying agrivoltaic systems with a total capacity of 2 GW which would be enough, according to estimations by the government led by Mario Draghi, to generate around 2,500 GWh per year.

The investment will target “the implementation of hybrid agriculture-energy production systems that do not compromise the use of land dedicated to agriculture but contribute to the environmental and economic sustainability of the farms.” The plan includes financial support for monitoring activities, according to the plan's draft document.

The investment aims to make the agricultural sector more competitive by reducing energy supply costs “currently estimated at more than 20% of the variable costs.”

On Tuesday, the Italian parliament approved the plan. The government will now send it to the Brussels authorities for approval. The European Commission requires EU member states to spend at least 37% of the grant and loan support provided by the bloc's NextGenerationEU recovery funding cash on projects which support its climate objectives.

The Italian recovery fund also includes €2.2 billion for energy communities. “This investment aims to secure the resources necessary to install approximately 2,000 MW of new electrical generation capacity,” reads the draft plan, according to which these funds could also cover energy storage systems.

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The government wants to achieve “international industrial and knowledge leadership” in the fastest growing transition sectors, investing in Italy-based supply chains and reducing dependence on imported technologies including PV, hydrogen electrolyzers, and batteries. The Mediterranean country plans to devote €0.68 billion to innovative renewable energy technologies, including offshore systems.

To complete the investments in renewable energy, another €1.92 billion will be set aside for biomethane.

In total, Italy decided to devote €23.78 billion of its EU recovery funds to renewable energy, hydrogen, smart grids, and mobility. According to the draft Covid-recovery plan, the largest chunk of that figure will target sustainable local transportation (€8.58 billion), followed by investments in renewable energy (€5.9 billion), energy infrastructure (€4.11 billion), and hydrogen (€3.19 billion).

As part of the total €59.33 billion investment in the energy transition – and apart from the €23.78 billion above – the Italian government included €15.22 billion for energy efficiency, €15.06 billion for environmental protection measures, and €5.27 billion for a circular economy and sustainable agriculture.

Italy is the main recipient of the EU's €750 billion NextGenerationEU plan. It is set to receive €191.5 billion in loans and grants between 2021 and 2026.

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