Fears for impact of sweeping market change

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An amendment to a sweeping Italian law on energy issues currently being examined in parliament would transfer the country's renewable energy obligation from electricity producers to distributors. Simone Togni of the Italian wind energy association, Associazione Nazionale Energia del Vento, believes the new system would be difficult to enforce and could unsettle the market at a time when financing projects is already difficult. "Today there's an obligation that stimulates production and that will no longer exist," notes Togni. Italy requires electricity producers to acquire green certificates to demonstrate they are providing a rising proportion of production from renewables. The certificates can be traded among producers, with those with certificates in excess selling the to those failing to meet the mandate. The systems forms the backbone of Italy's thriving wind power market. This year, producers must source 5.3% of their electricity from renewable sources. The new law was approved last month by the Senate and has returned to the lower house of parliament for final approval. Another key measure in the draft legislation requires the government to identify sites for producing nuclear power and disposing of nuclear waste within six months of the law's approval. Italy is seeking to resume nuclear production after abandoning nuclear energy in the wake of a 1987 referendum imposing a moratorium. Its nuclear ambitions are likely to be difficult to achieve, however, as a string of regions mentioned as sites for either nuclear power plants or waste disposal have already indicated their opposition.

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