Italy eyes cuts to its support for renewable energy

Rome, April 4, 2012 — Italy's industry ministry is preparing to approve two decrees that will lower by 30-40 percent the incentives for renewable energy production in the country's fifth energy plan expected this summer.

The public subsidies for green energy in the current fourth energy plan, or Quarto Conto Energia, are said to have already reached $12 billion, of which nearly $8 billion is for photovoltaic energy.

The industry ministry, however, must also coordinate the new plan with the environment ministry.

According to the latest drafts of the new plan, the incentives in the past years were very generous compared with both the other E.U. states and the guaranteed return to investors, especially for PV energy.

The latest draft is said to envisage a spending cap on PV incentives of $657 million a year. The exact figures may still vary but the government is expected to surely lower the spending from the current fourth energy plan which allows for $1.06 billion subsidies by the end of 2012 for large-scale PV plants, without any limit on the spending for small and medium-sized installations.

The draft of the fifth energy plan entails a cap of $7.2 billion for other renewable sources, excluding solar power.

The government is also mulling the introduction of a maximum capacity eligible for subsidies annually for each of the non-solar renewable sources.

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