Wind beats solar in Italian joint tender amid rising prices

Industry calls for better permitting process as a lack of submitted projects pushes up prices and less than a quarter of the available 1.2GW is awarded in latest joint wind-solar auction

Wind projects were awarded 259MW of capacity in Italy's latest joint tender, with solar only winning 20MW
Wind projects were awarded 259MW of capacity in Italy's latest joint tender, with solar only winning 20MW

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Onshore wind developers secured 20-year fixed-price tariffs for some 259MW in capacity in Italy’s fourth joint wind and solar PV tender for projects over 1MW — compared with just 20MW for solar, as prices rose amid scant competition.

Italian state agency Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE), which ran the auction, had been prepared to award as much as 1,161MW in capacity in the auction for large-scale wind and solar projects.

Discounts for the 11 wind projects awarded capacity stood at just 2.0-2.3% to a base tariff price of €70/MWh, or €68.39-€68.60/MWh. This compared with a low price for wind of €66.85/MWh at the previous joint tender in October, €56.91 in the second joint tender last June and €48.62 in the first joint technology tender at the start of 2020.

Discounts for solar PV in the latest tender stood at 2.0-2.59%.

Among auction winners, EDP Renewables revealed it was awarded a contract for a 44MW wind project in Sicily, expected to become operational in 2022. Enel secured contracts for 34.5MW capacity for two wind projects, located in Sicily and Campania, also set to come online in 2022.  

No wind projects were submitted for a tender for repowering of renewable energy installations.

Davide Astiaso Garcia, secretary general of Italian wind energy association Anev, said auction results underscore the need for the authorisation process — for both new and repowered wind projects — to be streamlined.  

Italy must speed up the pace of authorisations if it is to meet its 2030 target of 19.3GW of wind capacity, up from about 10.7GW at present, he added. 

Offshore potential

Italy currently has no offshore wind capacity, although it is aiming for 900MW by 2030 and expects to bring its first offshore project – the 30MW Port of Taranto Port of Taranto (30MW) Offshoreoff Taranto, Apulia, Italy, Europe Click to see full details – online next year. Anev believes the advent of floating technology will open wider possibilities off Italy’s coasts and has recently set a target of 5GW for floating offshore wind by 2040.

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