ITALY: Confusion reigns once again over Italy’s renewable-energy incentives after two government ministers rushed to deny reports of significant cuts in a just-approved austerity budget.
Observers say continued uncertainty over government support for wind and other renewable-energy sources in the country is harmful to investor confidence.
Texts of the budget circulating in the Italian media on Monday highlighted government plans to cut incentives for renewable energy by 30%, compared with those in effect on 31 December 2010.
Paolo Romani, the minister for economic development, said that the cabinet had agreed to eliminate that measure, partly because it would generate minimal savings.
Environment minister Stefania Prestigiacomo also denied new incentive cuts had been approved.
“Italy just passed a referendum against nuclear energy and everyone was awaiting measures to allow for the development of renewable energy,” said Giuseppe Mastropieri, the head of renewable energy sources at Nomisma Energia. “Then they pulled this out of the hat.”
Mastropieri said that he did not believe the Italian budget will usher in new incentive cuts, but said the latest confusion is indicative of the Italian government’s inability to adopt a clear and credible policy for supporting renewable energy. “There is a consensus in favour of renewable energy, but the government doesn’t know which way to turn.”
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