Europe 2020: Renewable Energy Plans - Wind capacity set to triple in next ten years

ITALY: Italy should have 16GW of installed wind capacity by 2020, producing 24.1TWh of electricity annually, according to the government's draft National Renewable Energy Action Plan, released in June.

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The country has upped its expectations significantly from 2007, when the forecast figures were 12GW and 22.6TWh, respectively. While ambitious, Italy's objectives for wind are seen as achievable by most industry participants despite investor jitters about incentives.

According to the draft plan, 15GW of onshore and 1GW of offshore wind farms will be operating by 2020. Italy currently has more than 5GW onshore, but no offshore wind farms have won full authorisation. While Italy has upped its overall capacity forecast, the offshore target has been halved.

The Italian plan indicates that renewable energy should represent 29% of all Italian electricity consumption by 2020, with annual production of 105TWh. Wind energy should account for 23% of all electricity from renewable sources that year and 6.6% of total forecast electricity consumption, becoming the second-most important renewable energy source for electricity generation behind the already mature hydroelectric power sector.

The Italian government believes imports from other EU and non-EU states will be needed to meet its binding target of 17% of energy consumption from renewable sources. Some renewable energy could come from wind-generated electricity abroad, such as the 500MW wind farm being developed by Italian firm Moncada in Albania.

Italian renewable energy association Associazione Produttori Energia da Fonti Rinnovabili (APER) says that the action plan is a very important step towards Italy's 2020 obligations but stresses that the government needs to simplify the authorisation process for renewable projects.

APER has also asked the government to avoid measures incompatible with the 2020 objectives, including a cabinet bill approved in May to cancel the annual buy-back of excess green certificates on the part of Italian renewable energy promotion agency Gestore dei Servizi Energetici. Parliament looked set to reconsider that measure in July, after protests by renewable energy associations and the business community that the price for green certificates could collapse, freezing investments in the sector and making 2020 objectives unreachable.

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