Italy announced it will hold the first of seven auctions for renewable energy in September, keeping in mind selecting producers for the first 500 megawatts of clean power under the terms of a June ruling from the European Union.
The 5.4-billion-euro plan pitches for Italy to generate at least 4.8 gigawatts of new energy by the means of solar and wind power generation over a two-year period. Based on routine energy use in Italy, one gigawatt — the amount of energy produced by around 3 million solar panels or 430 large-scale wind turbines — is capable of power around one million homes. The first 500-megawatt auction will take place this year, allowing companies and other entities producing at least one megawatt of power to put forward their participation. Projects will be ranked based on price and other factors, such as access to power grids. The Italian system also includes separate, smaller auctions for projects producing less than one megawatts of power. Agricultural projects are not allowed to participate in the auction, meaning developers will have to build their projects in industrial areas or unused plots in urban zones. According to Andrea Zaghi, director-general of industry group Elettricità Futura, Italy is already on its way to meet EU-mandated renewable energy goals. The country at present gets around 16 percent of its energy mix from renewable sources. The targets are for that figure to increase to at least 17 percent by the end of next year and to 30 percent by 2030.”These 500 megawatts are not an insignificant amount of energy,” Zaghi conveyed to Xinhua, adding “I think these auctions mean we won’t need further decrees to reach our goals. But we will have to see how the prices go in the auction.”
Zaghi, a former director of the Italian renewable energy association Assorinnovabili, went on “The 30-percent goal is ambitious. We can reach it but we cannot be complacent.”But Mariagrazia Midulla, head of the climate and energy division for WWF-Italia, an environmental lobby group, said Italy should still be doing more.