Renewables, the auctions are a new flop: assigned only 13% of the capacity

ROME – The Minister of Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani wants to look at the glass half full: “According to the practices presented a Ternarequests for new connections to the network for plants renewable this year they are equal to 5 gigawatts of power “, he declared while participating in the festival of the economy in progress in Trento.

But the minister knows well that one thing is the applications that are presented – where an obligatory passage is also required for Terna – and another to have the effective go-ahead, with all the necessary bureaucratic stamps, to start the work that will lead to the realization of the plants. In this case, the glass may still appear half empty.

The long times of the permits, despite the simplification work carried out in this first year of government by Minister Cingolani, are one of the reasons that explain the umpteenth failure of the auctions that offer new incentivized capacity every four months. How does it work? Through the GSE, the Energy Services Manager, a quantity of capacity of all types (from photovoltaic to wind to hydro) is put up for tender and operators make lower offers. In the last auction that closed at the end of April and of which the results were recently announced, out of 3,500 megawatts offered, in the end only 440 megawatts were awarded, just over 13%.

This is how what happened last year is repeated, with the auctions that are full in Spain, France and Germany and Italy that remains at the stake: in 2021 there were even lower allocation percentages. Among the insiders, in truth, energy prices are also blamed, always very high, even if far from the record levels of the end of winter. Basically, operators would prefer to go on the market, proposing the construction of plants to private individuals, with medium-long term supply contracts, which at this time could be more advantageous.

But not everyone is convinced that this is the case: because an entrepreneur – in turn – should sign supply contracts that are certainly not at affordable prices, unless he has the possibility of a downward adjustment once the storm on the energy markets passes and Are the prices starting to go down?

Complicated situation, as you can see. And this is precisely the point: the confusion that reigns in the energy sector, amplified by the unknowns on raw materials linked to the progress of the conflict in Ukraine, does not allow for visibility on economic fundamentals. Starting from the prices at which energy can be sold.

But at the same time, the government’s promised simplification work is also still in the middle of the ford. For example: the government has implemented the EU directive which requires the Regions to establish the criteria for identifying the “suitable areas” for the construction of new plants. But it will still take some time before the Regions themselves approve the final documents. Another example: self-consumption has been facilitated, so that everyone can produce energy without having to connect to the grid. But the latest implementing decrees of the Mise are still missing. The problem of photovoltaics on an agricultural area still needs to be resolved: a compromise is being sought so that it can also be authorized through the GSE auctions. Finally, it must be taken into account that with 2023 there will be new rules in the races.

In other words, the administrative simplification process is underway, but given the more general situation, operators prefer to wait. Moreover, Minister Cingolani himself is aware of this, and in Trento he concluded his reasoning as follows: “There is some acceleration. We can do better but let me acknowledge that if we could cancel the bureaucracy that is too heavy in a few months , it probably wouldn’t be too heavy. It’s a matter that will take time. ” Because, continues Cingolani, “there is also a question of the mindset of the public apparatus that cannot be changed in an instant”.

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