Draghi must deliver on promises to simplify Italian solar permits


Trade body SolarPower Europe has lent its voice to a call by Italian solar and wind energy organizations for the government to deliver on promises to simplify the permitting process for new clean energy capacity.

The European industrial lobby group today issued a statement emphasizing the need to tighten up the requirements of the Simplification Decree published by the Mario Draghi government at the end of May, and which is currently being discussed in parliament.

With the legislation needing to pass into law this month, SolarPower Europe and Italian trade body Italia Solare have called for amendments to be added to further simplify a planning process which currently sees almost half of clean power facilities abandoned and the balance having to wait around six years for approval.

In a statement issued jointly by six industrial organizations, including clean power membership body ANIE Rinnovabili and electric industry group Elettricità Futura, SolarPower Europe chief executive Walburga Hemetsberger said: “The potential for solar PV is very high in Italy but this capacity will not be reached unless administrative hurdles are overcome. Removing permitting restrictions is a necessary step to speed up solar deployment and the process of transposing the RED II [EU directive] into national law is also a key opportunity to address the simplification of PV-systems repowering.” The second iteration of the Renewable Energy Directive [RED II], which sets EU clean power targets to 2030, was enacted in December 2018.

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Solar groups say the Simplification Decree drafted as a condition of securing €68.9 billion of EU post-Covid recovery and resilience funding – and access to €122.6 billion of European loans – does not go far enough in slimming down a sluggish permitting regime.

Although the legislation offers support to agrivoltaics, industry representatives today said the package could prove “ineffective and inefficient” without further moves to cut the red tape associated with solar and wind farms.

The press statement said Italy will need 7 GW of renewables generation capacity per year to reach its 2030 carbon emissions reduction ambition and has achieved less than 1 GW annually “over the past few years,” thanks mainly to the restrictive permitting rules. At the current rate, said SolarPower Europe and its Italian peers, the nation will not achieve its 2030 targets until 2090.

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