Wind Wire: New law approved

A new energy law that includes an improved market structure for offshore wind has been approved by Italy's parliament.

Under the law, offshore wind power production will be awarded 1.5 green certificates for each MWh of generation, up from 1.1 certificates set previously. Onshore wind will still get one certificate. There are no operational offshore installations in Italy, nor any fully permitted projects, but around a dozen planned projects are seeking consent.

In addition to selling electricity from wind plant, operators sell the associated green certificates to companies obligated under the law to source an increasing proportion of electricity from renewable sources each year. This renewable energy requirement was previously imposed on electricity generators, but the new law transfers the obligation to electricity distributors (Windpower Monthly, June 2009).

While Italian wind energy association Associazione Nazionale Energia del Vento is concerned the obligation change could introduce greater uncertainty to the market in a climate where financing projects is already quite difficult, others in the industry say the switch should help support the price of green certificates.

The country's installed onshore wind capacity reached 4068 MW at the end of June, up 332 MW since the end of last year, according to Italy's Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, l'Energia e l'Ambiene (ENEA). In less good news for the wind industry, Italy's new energy law also paves the way for a return to nuclear, overturning a 1987 referendum imposing a moratorium on nuclear.

Italian renewable energy group Kinexia has begun construction of its first wind project, a 30 MW installation in the southern Italian region of Calabria, for completion in the first half of 2011 using 2 MW turbines from German supplier Repower. The plant is located in the municipality of Ciro.

According to Kinexia's 2009-2013 industrial plan, the company wants to install 100 MW of wind in Italy in 2011 and 330 MW in 2013, accounting for the lion's share of its total targets for renewables of 198 MW in 2011 and 450 MW in 2013. Currently Kinexia has a single 6 MW operational biogas plant. Its wind development pipeline stands at more than 850 MW in the regions of Sicily, Campania and Apulia, although the Calabria project is the only fully authorised one.

Previously known as Schiapparelli 1824, the firm was renamed Kinexia after it was taken over by a company called Allea in 2008. New management, led by chief executive Pietro Colucci, has repositioned the company as a renewable energy player and plans to exit shortly from its historic cosmetics and nutritional products businesses. Kinexia shares are listed on the Milan stock exchange.

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