Turbine blades waiting for installation

Member Country Activities for Italy

In 2014, with a new installed net capacity of just 105 MW (-76% with respect to 2013), wind energy deployment in Italy declined further, in addition to the considerable decrease in new installations observed in 2013. In the last two years the annual new installed capacity dropped from 1,266 MW to only 105 MW. Cumulative installed capacity at the end of 2014 reached 8,663 MW.

This context represents the dreaded consequences of the new support scheme for renewable energy sources (RES), which came into force at the end of 2012. Under this scheme, incentive access is constrained by established annual quotas, which involve a severe limitation for new installations with respect to the trend in the previous years. This scheme considers three different incentive access mechanisms: direct access, access by registration, and access by auction. Registration and auction access is constrained by established annual quotas. The access mechanism depends on the wind farm size and characteristics (i.e., integrally rebuilt, repowered, or refurbished plant). Incentive tariffs depend on project size and characteristics as well (i.e., land-based or offshore). According to investors, the critical aspects of this scheme are the annual established quotas (thought to be too low with respect to the annual new added capacity usually installed so far), the low basic tariff of the incentive, and the auction access threshold of 5 MW as plant capacity (also considered to be too low).

In 2014, 56 new turbines were deployed, reaching a total of 6,358 installed wind turbines. Wind electricity generation increased from 14.9 TWh in 2013 to 15.0 TWh in 2014, corresponding to about 4.9% of total electricity demand on the Italian system (decreasing from 318.5 TWh in 2013 to 309.0 TWh in 2014). Wind production curtailments ordered by transmission systems operators (TSO) are no longer a problem for the producers as they have been in the past. Curtailment is estimated to be the same as in 2013, less than 2%. The regulatory authority AEEG has provided for curtailed production to be estimated and wind farm owners indemnified. This authority has also updated the regulation for sharing balancing costs among RES producers that are not programmable—deliberation 522/2014/R/eel. This deliberation allows producers to choose between two different options in computing the due amount. This provision was made in order to overcome the remarks of the State Council decision—Sez. VI, n. 2936—9 June 2014, regarding the previous AEEG deliberation 281/2012/R/efr on the same subject.

Because few Italian industries engage in large wind turbine manufacturing, most of the turbines installed in 2014 were supplied by foreign producers. In the small wind energy systems market, this situation is completely reversed, with a very strong presence of Italian industries. This market is supported by a quite good incentive level and a cumulative installed capacity exceeding 45 MW was estimated at the end of 2014. Because of the lack of a national program, wind energy R, D&D activities have been carried out by different entities, mainly the National Research Council (CNR), the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) (the first and second national research institutions respectively), Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico (RSE S.p.A.), some universities, and other companies.