Italian government loosens permits for more large-scale renewables


Italy's Council of Ministers has authorized the construction of eight renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of 314 MW, in a bid to further streamline the development of large-scale installations and reduce reliance on gas imports in the years to come.

The approved projects will not need to go through additional environmental impact assessments. They include five wind projects ranging in size from 31.3 MW to 73.2 MW, spread across the southern regions of Apulia and Basilicata. They also include a 60 MW agrivoltaic project in Apulia, and two geothermal projects each with capacities of 5 MW in Toscana.

The Italian government began bypassing regional authorities to authorize some renewable energy projects in March, in response to a policy change for renewable energy permits. Since then, the Italian solar and renewable energy market has shown clear signs of recovery.

In March, the government also simplified the permitting process to install commercial rooftop PV systems with capacities between 50 kW and 200 kW. In Italy, such projects are allowed to operate under the country's net metering scheme, known as the “Scambio sul posto.”

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Italy is expected to deploy around 5.1 GW of new renewables capacity this year, according to Minister of Economic Development Roberto Cingolani. He has said that around 0.64 GW of new renewable energy projects were connected to the grid in the first four months of the year and another 0.68 GW is set to be switched on soon in the country's high-voltage network, which is operated by Terna. In addition, another 3.8 GW of installations were recently approved and should go online by the end of this year.

The most recent statistics from ANIE Rinnovabili show that the country deployed more than 1 GW of PV in the first half of this year. According to these figures, PV projects below 1 MW in size represented almost all of the newly deployed capacity, at 686 MW. Solar parks above 1 MW in size accounted for 375 MW of the total.

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