Italy allocates 32.2 MW of solar in fifth renewables auction


Italian energy agency Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE) allocated only 73 MW of renewables capacity in the country's fifth clean energy auction for projects with capacities above 1 MW.

The procurement exercise, which drew bids for 98.9 MW of capacity, was once again under-subscribed. The government initially hoped to assign 1.48 GW of new projects.

Wind power was again the leading source, with 259 MW allocated across three sites. The GSE also awarded 32.2 MW of solar capacity across eight locations. These include two PV projects submitted by Enel Green Power Srl — part of Italian utility Enel's Enel Green Power Spa division — to be located in the province of Ferrara, in the region of Emilia-Romagna, with capacities ranging from 4 to 8 MW. Another Enel Green Power affiliate, Enel Green Power Solar Energy S.R., secured two projects with a combined capacity of 4 MW in the Sicilian province of Siracusa.

Also aiming to build a PV plant in Sicily is Sunprime Generation, which secured 3.4 MW for its planned project in the province of Messina with the auction's lowest bid of €0.0685/kWh. All the other bids were slightly higher in value.

In the fourth procurement exercise, finalized in January, the lowest bid came in at €0.06819/kWh and was submitted for a 10 MW solar project. Overall, only 20 MW of solar were allocated.

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In the third renewables auction, held in October, the GSE had assigned 95.5 MW of solar capacity across four locations. The lowest bid – submitted for a PV project – was €0.06490/kWh. The big surprise in that tender was the inclusion of an 82.3 MW solar power plant to be built in the Sardinian municipality of Uta, near Cagliari.

In the second renewables auction, only 19.3 MW of PV capacity was allocated across four projects. The lowest price of €56/MWh was offered for a solar project. In the first procurement round, only one 5 MW solar plant was awarded, along with 495 MW of wind capacity. The single PV project will sell electricity for €60/MWh.

The limited success of solar in these exercises is due to tender rules that exclude projects on agricultural land. The Italian government hopes to allocate approximately 4.8 GW of generating capacity in the auction scheme, which includes smaller procurement rounds for projects under 1 MW.

Italy, which has over 21 GW of solar capacity, is planning to install around 50 GW by 2030.

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