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Solving permitting issues is key to Italy’s post COVID-19 green recovery

WindEurope recently attended an online Parliamentary Workshop organised by the European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources (EUFORES) in cooperation with the Italian Senate. Members of the Italian and European Parliaments, representatives of the European Commission, government officials, and experts in the energy field discussed the energy transition in Italy in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

Italy has the 5th largest amount of installed wind energy capacity in Europe. In its final 2030 National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), Italy aims at almost doubling its installed wind power capacity. The NECP plans a leap from the country’s current 10.5 GW to 19.3 GW by 2030. 900 MW of this 19.3 GW will be offshore wind energy. Today Italy has no offshore wind turbines generating electricity. According to the NECP, Italy will reach its 2030 targets with a combination of new installations and the repowering of existing wind farms.

However, Italy – like many Member States – has significant permitting problems. The Italian authorisation process is long, burdensome, and fragmented. The EU’s 2018 Renewable Energy Directive demands that Member States simplify and shorten their permitting processes. This will be critical to deploy the wind energy capacities necessary to deliver the European Green Deal and Italy’s energy and climate objectives.

And it’s even more crucial in the short term: Italy has signed up to a public commitment with 16 fellow Member States to make the post COVID-19 recovery as green as possible. Wind energy will be key to this, as a cost-competitive, scalable and labour-rich technology. Participants in the workshop agreed that it’s now urgent that the Italian Government backs up its political ambition with concrete measures that make a difference on the ground.

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