Italy’s new austerity plan could hit solar with further cuts - Aug 4, 2011 - Chris Whitmore - - Technical Articles - Index - Library - GENI - Global Energy Network Institute

Italy’s new austerity plan could hit solar with further cuts

Aug 4, 2011 - Chris Whitmore -

The final version of Italy's deficit-reduction plan has imposed further reductions on renewable energy incentives, reports Reuters. If confirmed, the new legislation could see incentives to renewable energy companies paid for by consumers on their electricity bills slashed by as much as 30%.

These cuts will further undermine confidence in an industry that has endured a difficult six months after the uncertainty which surrounded the unveiling Italy’s new solar subsidy bill. The Government’s dithering over Conto Energia IV resulted in production grinding to a halt on the peninsula and this latest setback is sure to sap confidence levels further.

"We are taking a cautious approach. We want to see how this measure plays out and how it will be interpreted," said Assosolare chairman Gianni Chianetta.

However, further confusing an already exasperated solar industry has been the reaction of Silvio Berlusconi’s cabinet to the news; Stefania Prestigiacomo and Paolo Romani, Ministers for the Environment and Industry respectively, have already moved to deny the existence of any such cuts in the final approved text.

"There is no cut on renewable energy incentives in the final version of the austerity plan sent to the President," Romani said.

Several drafts of the latest plan have been leaked to the press in recent days but no final text has been made public. Either way, with President Giorgio Napolitano due to sign the austerity bill on Monday the renewables sector will not have to wait long to find out how it will be affected by the €47-billion budgetary cuts.