Developers of renewable energy plant are being granted a 50% discount for feasibility studies into grid connection of projects and for preliminary work for connections carried out by the Italian electricity distributor, Terna SpA. Furthermore, renewables are exempt from contributing to the cost of any modifications that must be made to the existing electricity network to accommodate the new connection. The rulings were introduced in December by the country's energy regulator, the Autorità per l'energia elettrica e il gas, among other regulatory changes intended to ease the way for renewables generation. Delibera no. 281/05 specifies the regulator's new guidelines on grid connection of power installations with nominal voltages above 1 kV. It also provides renewable producers discounts on construction costs for substations and lines necessary to hook-up to the network. "The regulation is very important, not so much for quantitative reasons but because for the first time it recognises the principle that renewable sources must be treated favourably with respect to traditional energy sources." says Simone Togni of the Italian wind energy association, Associazione Nazionale Energia del Vento (ANEV). Wind energy groups had been awaiting the regulation for some time. It comes after a consultation process involving renewable and other market players begun by the regulator last spring
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