Wind Energy in Italy

italy.jpgIn 2016, new installed wind power capacity in Italy totaled 282.60 MW. Cumulative installed capacity at the end of the year reached 9,257 MW. 136 new turbines were deployed, bringing the total number of installed wind turbines to approximately 6,620. Wind-generated electricity increased from 14.6 TWh in 2015 to 17.4 TWh in 2016. This electricity production corresponds to about 5.6% of total demand.

Wind operators and associations have developed studies and deployment proposals for the repowering of old wind farms. In 2016, Italy adjusted the annual quota to 800 MW for land-based wind power capacity, which has been assigned through tender. This is a significant increase from the 500 MW quota set in 2015.

As in previous years, foreign producers supplied most of the multi-megawatt turbines installed in 2016. Few Italian industries currently engage in large wind turbine manufacturing; however, Italian industries do have a strong presence in the small wind energy systems market.

Wind energy R,D&D activities have been carried out by the following entities: universities; Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico (RES); the National Research Council (CNR); and the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy, and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA).

National Objectives

The National Energy Strategy (SEN), issued in March 2013, outlines national objectives and policies for Italian energy systems. Four main objectives have been identified:
  • Reduce energy prices
  • Reach and overcome the European Commission’s 2020 decarbonization targets set for Italy
  • Improve safety and independence in energy supply
  • Foster sustainable economic growth in energy secto
During 2016, debates began regarding the 2030 National Energy Strategy.

Renewable Energy Targets

In 2009, Italy accepted a binding national target equaling 17% of overall annual energy consumption from renewable energy sources (RES). This is Italy’s contribution to the European Union’s (EU) target to have at least 20% of primary energy, electricity, heat, and transport be supplied by renewables. The 2010 Italian National Action Plan (PAN) for renewable energy distributed this overall national target across several sectors.

The electrical sector set an RES target of 26.39%, which equates to 43.8 GW of RES capacity and 98.9 TWh/yr RES production by 2020. Wind-based electrical energy accepted a 12.68 GW MW (12.0 GW land-based and 0.680 GW offshore) target for installed capacity, and a 20 TWh/yr (18 TWh/yr land-based and 2 TWh/yr offshore) target for electricity production.

Policies Supporting Development

The main issue of the present incentive mechanism supporting renewables is fixed energy purchase prices for RES-E plants below a capacity threshold, depending on technology and size (no lower than 5 MW). Larger plants receive special energy purchase prices through calls for tenders (until the annual quota is reached), which are granted over the average conventional lifetime of plants (20–25 years).

The 2016 quota for wind power capacity was 800 MW land-based (compared to 500 MW in 2015) and 30 MW offshore.

Since the introduction of tariffs and annual quotas in 2012, installations have significantly declined (from approximately 1,000 MW/yr in 2008-2012 to about 300 MW/yr in 2013–2016). The incentive tariff for wind power plants with a size of 20–200 kW was also significantly lower than in 2015.