Welcome to IEA Wind Member Country Activities for Italy
In Italy, installed wind capacity reached 8,554 MW in 2013, with the addition of 434 MW net capacity during the year (a decrease of 66% in new installations with respect to 2012). This dramatic decrease in the wind energy development trend (e.g., 1,266 MW of new capacity installed in 2012) is mainly due to the enforcement of the new renewable energy systems (RES) supporting scheme, in which the incentive access is constrained by established annual quotas, which involve a severe limitation for new installations compared with previous years.
This new supporting scheme for RES, which came into force at the end of 2012, considers three different incentive access mechanisms: direct access, registration access, and auction access. Registration and auction access is constrained by annual quotas. The access mechanism depends on the plant size and characteristics (i.e., integrally rebuilt, repowered, or refurbished plant). Incentive tariffs depend on plant size and characteristics as well (i.e., land-based or offshore plant). An issue critical to investors is the annual quotas established for auction in the next three years. These quotas are thought to be too low with respect to the annual new added capacity usually installed so far. What is more, the auction access threshold of 5 MW as wind park capacity is also considered to be too low. These fears were confirmed by the dramatic decrease in new installations during 2013.
In 2013, 221 new turbines were deployed, reaching a total of 6,391 installed wind turbines. Wind electricity generation increased from 13.1 TWh in 2012 to 14.9 TWh (12%) in 2013, corresponding to about 4.7% of total electricity demand on the Italian system.
Issues affecting wind energy growth include the new support scheme mentioned above and permitting procedures, which still represent a bottleneck for new wind energy projects. Acknowledgement by the regions of the national permitting guidelines issued in 2010 is expected to overcome this obstacle.
Another critical issue has been wind production curtailments ordered by the transmission system operator (TSO). The noteworthy efforts made by the TSO TERNA to upgrade the grid in order to match RES-production dispatching needs have resulted in a significant decrease in wind production curtailments, from 5.5% in 2010 to about 1% in 2012 and less than 1% in 2013. Moreover, the regulatory authority AEEG has provided for curtailed production to be estimated and wind park owners indemnified.
Erg Renew became the first operator owning more than 1 GW of the installed capacity. Leitwind is the only Italian manufacturer of large turbines. As a consequence, most of the large turbines installed in 2013 were supplied by foreign manufacturers. The market for small wind turbines is growing, reaching about 20 MW of overall installed capacity (estimated value).
Because of the lack of a coordinated national research program, wind energy R, D&D activities have been carried out by different entities, mainly CNR (National Research Council) and ENEA (the first and second national research institutions respectively), RSE (Research on the Electric System), some universities and other companies.