Calls for reform grow louder after wind power wins 392MW in 3.3GW Italian tender

“No other European country has more problems in permitting wind than Italy,” WindEurope said after recent tender

Slow permitting procedures have led to undersubsribed tenders in Italy (pic credit: Enel Green Power)
Slow permitting procedures have led to undersubsribed tenders in Italy (pic credit: Enel Green Power)

Twenty-year contracts for difference (CfDs) were assigned to 392MW in onshore wind projects in Italy’s latest tender for 3.3GW in wind and solar, which took 583MW.

Italian state agency GSE, which ran the auction, assigned CfDs to 18 Italian wind farms. ERG, Italy’s largest wind operator, secured roughly a quarter of the total capacity assigned to wind, with 50.4MW for the repowering of the 20.4MW Camporeale Camporeale (20.4MW) OnshoreCamporeale, Sicily, Italy, Europe Click to see full details wind farm and 46.8MW for the greenfield Roccapalumba development, both in the southern Italian region of Sicily.

Contracts for wind farms were assigned at a 2.0-2.7% discount to a reference price of €66.50/MWh, or €64.70-€65.17/MWh, in line with the previous auction, and at or near the allowed 2.0% minimum discount. GSE said the average price secured by wind and solar projects was €65/MWh.

Capacity not issued in one auction is made available in the next, making it increasingly difficult for an auction to be fully subscribed and keeping prices higher.

WindEurope said Italy’s latest undersubscribed auction reflects a lack of permitted projects. “Italy urgently needs to fix its permitting arrangements,” said Giles Dickson, the trade association’s CEO. “No other European country has more problems in permitting wind farms than Italy.”

Alongside ERG, other companies winning contracts include EDP Renewables, with a 39.2MW project in Sicily, and Italian developers Lucky Wind with an 8.4MW project in Apulia. IVPC won CfDs for nearly 28MW across two wind farms, one in Basilicata and one in Campania.

Ten of the 18 wind projects were in the region of Apulia, three in Sicily, two in Liguria and one each in Sardinia, Basilicata and Campania.

Overall, a total of 975MW in CfDs was awarded in the seventh joint solar-and-wind auction for projects over 1MW. GSE termed the results as “good”, and added that they were a clear improvement on the 595MW assigned in the previous joint auction, of which 296MW went to wind, and the less than 100MW in the tender before that, of which 41MW for wind.

Need for more capacity

WindEurope stressed that Italy needs to pick up the pace of new installations to meet the 2030 commitment for 19.3GW of wind energy in its current national energy and climate plan (NECP), a goal requiring about 1GW a year of new wind farms. Like other countries, however, the new EU target for 40% renewable energy by 2030, means Italy will need to add even more capacity.

After announcing the auction results, GSE called an eighth tender for commercial-scale wind and solar, with more than 3.3GW of capacity on offer and a deadline of 2 March. Should that round also not be fully subscribed, as is likely, GSE will launch another tender on 31 May.

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