Article Italy: Legislation to Contain Energy Costs Enters into Effect

On April 29, 2022, Law No. 34 of April 27, 2022, which converted into law Decree-Law No. 17 of March 1, 2022 (D.L. No. 17), entered into effect in Italy, approving urgent measures for containing the costs of electricity and natural gas, developing renewable energies, and relaunching industrial policies. The law contains various amendments, with the following being some of the most important changes.

Mandatory Reporting Regulations

Under the new legislation, the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment must send periodic reports to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Ecological Transition, and the competent parliamentary commissions regarding the use of resources intended to contain the effects of price increases in the electricity and natural gas sectors. (D.L. No. 17, art. 2-bis & 2(2), added by Law No. 34.)

National Strategy Against Energy Poverty

On the basis of the data in the aforementioned reports, the Minister of Ecological Transition must adopt the National Strategy Against Energy Poverty. (Decreto Legislativo 8 novembre 2021, n. 210 (D.L. No. 210), art. 11, para. 6-bis, added by Law No. 34.) In Italy, according to the estimates of the National Energy Strategy, about 8.6% of families have found themselves in conditions of energy poverty in recent years. The new national strategy must set forth periodic objectives for the preparation of structural and long-term measures and public policy actions to counter the phenomenon of energy poverty. (D.L. No. 210, art. 11, para. 6-ter, added by Law No. 34.) The preparation of the strategy is subject to a public consultation process. (D.L. No. 210, art. 11, para. 6-quater, added by Law No. 34.)

National Plan for the Conversion of Greenhouse Plants into Agro-Energy Sites

The government is to issue regulations creating the National Plan for the Conversion of Greenhouse Plants into Agro-Energy Sites to counteract the environmental and landscape degradation resulting from the progressive structural deterioration of the national greenhouse heritage and to favor its reconversion for efficient reuse. (D.L. No. 28, art. 11-bis, para. 5, added by Law No. 34.) Among other goals, the plan seeks to renovate greenhouse systems through new production methods. (D.L. No. 28, art. 11-bis, para. 5, added by Law No. 34.)  

Sell-Back of Surplus Energy

To ensure return on investment in the medium term for expenses in renewable sources in the electricity market and to transfer the benefits to final consumers participating in the electricity market, a government agency (Gestore dei servizi energetici – GSE S.p.A.) is to offer to purchase electricity generated from renewable sources produced by plants located in the country through the stipulation of long-term contracts with a duration of at least three years. (D.L. No. 28, art. 16, added by Law No. 34.)

Stimuli for the Reconversion of Refineries

Other measures seek to promote the conversion of existing traditional refineries within reclamation sites of national interest for the production of biofuels to be used in the production of pure sustainable liquid biofuels. (D.L. No. 28, art. (b)(3-bis), added by Law No. 34.) To that effect, the legislation creates and endows the Fund for the Decarbonization and Green Conversion of Existing Refineries in Reclamation Sites of National Interest. (D.L. No. 28, art. (b)(3-ter), added by Law No. 34.)

National Day of Energy Saving and Sustainable Lifestyles

To promote the culture of energy and resource-saving through the reduction of waste and the spread of sustainable lifestyles, February 16 is established as the National Day of Energy Saving and Sustainable Lifestyles. (D.L. No. 28, art. 19-bis(1), added by Law No. 34.)

Other Measures on Energy Substitution

A variety of other measures aimed at generating sustainable energy are contained in the law, including measures aimed at increasing energy efficiency (D.L. No. 28, art. 19-ter, added by Law No. 34), research and development in the aerospace sector (D.L. No. 28, art. 22-bis, added by Law No. 34), and the installation of renewable energy plants (photovoltaic and thermal solar systems) in industrial areas (D.L. No. 28, art. 10-bis, added by Law No. 34).

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