2022 Energy Decree: News for photovoltaic, renewables, regeneration, material prices, energy efficiency

Law Decree no. 17/2022 ("2022 Energy Decree"), published in the Official Gazette on 1 March 2022, introduces urgent measures for the containment of electricity and natural gas costs, the development of renewable energies, and the relaunch of industrial policies.

In the area of electricity and gas, the new Government measures extend tax credits to non-energy-intensive businesses as well. In detail, the 2022 Energy Decree contemplates a 12% credit on electricity costs for all companies equipped with electric meters with available power equal to or greater than 16.5 kW. The measure is applied only to the second quarter of 2022, similar to what applied to the gas sector. As to gas costs, the 2022 Energy Decree grants a tax credit of 20% on gas costs incurred by companies (non-gas-intensive businesses) other than for thermoelectric ones.

In addition, the 2022 Energy Decree increases the tax relief provided for energy-intensive businesses from 20% to 25%, and that for gas-intensive businesses from 15% to 20%. The most significant novelty of this measure, however, is that it introduces the possibility of assigning the credit granted to companies (both large and small consumers) to other parties, including credit institutions and other financial intermediaries.

The 2022 Energy Decree also broadens access to social bonuses for electricity and gas until the end of the year and strengthens price monitoring activities, establishing a special "Mission Unit". Finally, it requires holders of gas supply contracts for the Italian market to transmit to the Ministry for Ecological Transition and ARERA the contracts already signed or to be signed.

With regard to fuels, the Government intervenes on excise duties with the intention of reducing the pump price of petrol and diesel by 25 cents per liter. The measure will be temporary, lasting until the end of April.

At the same time, the 2022 Energy Decree acts on the so-called Fuel Bonus (Bonus Carburante), a corporate benefit formula that companies can assign free of charge to employees to refuel their cars. In particular, it provides for an amount of EUR 200 per worker, which is not to be included in the income tax basis.

The 2022 Energy Decree also introduces a tax credit for the purchase of fuel for agriculture and fishing, equal to 20% of the expenditure incurred in the first quarter of 2022.

Finally, some interventions are aimed at supporting national road transport.

The decree is available through this link.

A new decree on renewable energy sources extra profits and transfer of credit has been issued

Law Decree no. 13/2022, which was published in the Official Gazette on 25 February 2022, contains "urgent measures to combat fraud and safety in the workplace in the construction sector, as well as on electricity produced by renewable source plants." The new decree reformulates the two-way compensation for renewable source plants and increases from one to three the number of times credit can be transferred under the Superbonus measure.

Specifically, as of 1 February 2022 and until 31 December 2022, the two-way compensation mechanism on the price of energy will be applied with reference to the electricity fed into the grid by the following plants:

  • Photovoltaic plants of more than 20 kW power that benefit from fixed premiums deriving from the Energy Account (Conto Energia) mechanism, which are not dependent on market prices
  • Solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and wind power plants with a capacity of more than 20 kW that do not qualify for incentive mechanisms and which became operational prior to 1 January 2010

Law Decree no. 13/2022 is available through this link.

Development contracts, from 11 April the call for renewable energy and batteries starts

Development contracts represent, in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), one of the most important industrial policy tools to strengthen the productive fabric of the country in terms of innovation, technological transformation and environmental sustainability. The NRRP has in fact earmarked over EUR 3 billion for the implementation of major projects throughout Italy as part of Measure M2C2, including, specifically, development contracts dedicated to renewables and batteries. The Ministry of Economic Development signed the related decree on 25 March 2022, setting 11 April as the opening date for the call for proposals. From 12 noon on 11 April, in fact, interested parties are able to submit their applications for facilitation at the counter of the National Agency for the attraction of investments and business development - Invitalia S.p.A.. The projects must concern development programs for innovative photovoltaic modules and new generation and medium- to large-sized wind turbines or electrochemical storage.

The evaluation of applications will give priority to the suitability of industrial programs to develop, consolidate and strengthen national value chains in the field of renewable energy and batteries, also in order to preserve the security and continuity of supply and procurement. Moreover, applications must have at least one of the following characteristics:

  • Predominant placement in the upstream sector of the supply chains;
  • Contribution made to the increase in generation capacity produced for the wind and photovoltaic supply chains (W/year) or to the storage capacity for that of batteries (W/year);
  • Presentation by a plurality of companies, representative of different sectors of the supply chain;
  • Presence of a research, development and innovation project within the submitted program.

More information on the call are available through this link.

Bulletin board of long-term energy contracts from renewable sources (PPA): the GME publishes the Regulation

The Energy Market Manager (GME) published on 30 March 2022 the Regulation of the Bulletin Board of long-term energy contracts from renewable sources ("PPA Bulletin Board"), the information tool aimed at promoting the meeting between parties potentially interested in the stipulation of long-term contracts for the sale of electricity from renewable sources, as well as to allow the fulfilment of the obligation to register the same contracts concluded between the participants. The regulation stipulates the new operating rules (technical operating provisions, admission requirements, communication obligations, payments, disciplinary measures, etc.).

Introduced by the decree implementing the RED II directive (Law Decree no. 199 of 8 November 2021), the PPA Bulletin Board will build a virtual place where supply and demand can meet, while allowing the evolution of this market to be monitored through the mandatory registration of the contracts concluded.

In detail, the PPA Bulletin Board is divided into two areas:

  • Notice Section, within which participants interested in proposing or seeking long-term contracts for the purchase and sale of electricity from renewable sources can publish, in anonymous and non-binding form, their notices, respectively, of sale or purchase, while participants interested in such notices can view them and express their interest
  • Contract Registration Section, within which the selling participants fulfil the obligation to register long-term contracts for the purchase and sale of electricity from renewable sources concluded

The PPA Bulletin Board is available through this link.

Parco Agrisolare Decree: Green light to incentives for agricultural photovoltaics

On 25 March 2022, the Minister of Agriculture signed the Parco Agrisolare Decree, which regulates the use of EUR 1.5 billion in favor of the solarization of buildings in the agri-food sector. Forty percent of the resources are reserved for the financing of projects to be carried out in the regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Puglia, Sardinia and Sicily. The initiative is part of the lines of action funded by the National Recovery and Residence Plan (NRRP) and aims to encourage the installation of agricultural photovoltaics without land consumption. In detail, the intervention supports the installation of solar modules on buildings for productive use in the agricultural, livestock and agro-industrial sectors. The goal is to be able to solarize 4.3 million square meters, adding at least 375 MW of new green electrical capacity.

The text had already been approved by the State-Regions Conference. Before proceeding with calls for the allocation of resources, however, it is necessary to wait for the green light of the European Commission.

The Parco Agrisolare Decree is available through this link.

NRRP: Program agreement signed between MiTE and ENEA for research activities on hydrogen

On 23 March 2022, the Ministry of Ecological Transition (MiTE) signed a program agreement with the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) for research and development activities related to hydrogen, which will be financed with the resources of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) (M2C2 - Investment 3.5).

The agreement provides for a maximum contribution of EUR 110 million, including amounts allocated to external implementers of which ENEA makes use for the realization of part of the research activities: the National Research Council (CNR) is granted resources for a maximum value of EUR 20 million and Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico (RSE S.p.A) for EUR 15 million.

More information on the agreement are available through this link.

MiTe: "RES 2" decree coming and then "New RES 1" decree

The RES 2 Decree had been announced as early as 2018, with the promise that it would bring together all incentives for renewables excluded from RES 1 Decree (namely, geothermal, offshore wind, biomass, biogas and solar thermal). More than three years have passed since the announcement. In fact, also due to the pandemic, the measure has accumulated a series of unfulfilled promises and delays, with the deadline being moved every so often. However, on 1 April 2022, the Undersecretary of State for Ecological Transition, Ilaria Fontana, reassured that the RES 2 Ministerial Decree will be adopted soon.

The undersecretary also announced that a further regulatory measure ("New RES 1") is being prepared, aimed at providing incentives for more mature technologies with low fixed costs.

Finally, the government has also prepared, and notified the European Union Commission about, a new decree on biomethane.

MiTe: Updating of the EIA forms

On 4 March 2022, the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition (MiTe) updated the request forms for environmental impact assessment (EIA) and verification of subjectivity to the EIA. In particular, the updates concern the forms for the Via application (article 23 of Legislative Decree no. 152 of 2006) and for the submission of the application for the verification of compliance with the environmental conditions contained in the assessment of subjectivity to Via or in the Via measure (article 28 of Legislative Decree no. 152 of 2006).

Circular economy and packaging: Ministry of Ecological Transition publishes guidelines on environmental labelling

In March 2022, the Ministry for Ecological Transition (MiTe) published the guidelines on the labelling of packaging pursuant to art. 219 paragraph 5 of Legislative Decree 152/2006.

These guidelines have been drawn up on the basis of the guidelines drafted by National Packaging Consortium (CONAI), with the aim of supporting companies by providing operational and management guidelines. The guidelines drawn up by CONAI were formulated following a series of discussions, in particular with UNI, Confindustria and Federdistribuzione, in order to analyze and manage the most technical aspects and the most frequent feedback received from individual companies and associations of producers, industrial and commercial users. In addition, these guidelines have been subject to a public consultation, following which they have been updated several times, both in the light of constant dialogue and comparisons with companies and associations, and as a result of regulatory developments on the subject.

The MiTe guidelines are available through this link.

IPCC Report 2022: Urgent action is needed to address growing risks

On 4 April 2022 the IPCC Report "Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change," which highlights the need for a profound and total revolution in the way energy is produced, distributed and consumed, was published.

In particular, the IPCC Report stresses that in order to keep the temperature increase below 1.5 degrees, it is necessary to drastically and immediately reduce the use of fossil fuels. At the same time, existing infrastructure must be dismantled or used at reduced capacity. In any scenario, the use of technologies to capture CO2 from the air is deemed essential.

The IPCC Report 2022 is available through this link.

Global Wind Report 2022: 2021 was the year for offshore wind

On 5 April 2022, the Global Wind Energy Council released the Global Wind Report 2022, according to which 2021 was the second best year ever for the wind industry. In fact, at the end of 2021, a total of 837 GW of wind capacity was installed worldwide. Over the next nine years, the number should quadruple, to reach 3,200 GW in 2030. However, due to the pandemic and problems with global supply chains, there was a slight drop in new installed power last year. According to Global Wind Report 2022 estimates, 93.6 GW went online, or nearly 2 GW less than the all-time high of 2020 (95.3 GW).

The most significant growth was in offshore. In 2021 alone, 21.1 GW of new capacity was commissioned, three times the 2020 figure. The market share of offshore turbines thus rose to 22.5%. On the auction front, too, the Global Wind Report 2022 records a rebound: more than 88 GW allocated worldwide, 153% more than in 2020.

The Global Wind Report 2022 is available through this link.

The National Report on Circular Economy 2022 presented; Italy first in Europe

On 5 April 2022, the IV National Report on the Circular Economy, which analyzes the performance of the five largest EU economies, was presented in Rome. According to the report, in Europe in 2020 consumption is at an average of 13 tons of material per person, but there are material differences between countries, thus, , whilst Italy is at 7.4 tons per inhabitant; Poland is at 17.5, Germany at 13.4, Spain at 10.3 and France at 8.1. In addition, the report shows that in 2020, the EU average rate of use of recycled material 12.8%, with France (22.2%) and Italy (21.6%) leading the pack, the indicator measuring how much recycled material meets the general demand. In general, in 2020 Italy achieved a 60% edge over the EU average, generating EUR 3.5 of GDP of every kg of resourced consumed (adjusted to account for different purchasing power), against a EU average of EUR 2.1.

The percentage of waste recycling in Italy is also the highest in Europe, close to 68%. This concerns both industrial and urban waste. With regard to industrial Italy achieves 75%, while for urban waste it is at 54.4%, above the EU average of 47.8%.

The National Report on Circular Economy 2022 is available through this link.


EU Commission publishes proposal for directive on corporate sustainability due diligence

On 23 February 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a directive on corporate sustainability due diligence. The directive will require companies to identify and where necessary avoid, cease or mitigate the adverse effects of their activities on human rights and the environment. The new rules will apply to the following businesses and sectors:

  • EU companies:
    • Group 1: All EU limited liability companies with more than 500 employees and a worldwide net turnover exceeding EUR 150 million ? These companies will need to have a plan to ensure that their business strategy is compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement.
    • Group 2: Other limited liability companies that operate in certain high-impact sectors and have, alternatively, more than 250 employees or a worldwide net turnover of EUR 40 million or more ? For these companies, the application of the rules will start two years later than for those in Group 1.
  • Non-EU companies active in the EU with an EU-generated turnover threshold in line with Groups 1 and 2 above.

The proposal applies to the operations of the companies themselves, their subsidiaries, and their value chains (consolidated direct and indirect business relationships) and will cover approximately 13,000 EU companies and 4,000 non-EU companies. In addition, although SMEs are not directly in the scope of the proposal, they could be indirectly affected by the new rules as a result of the effect of the actions of large companies through their value chains.

More information on this proposal are available in our previous alert and through the following link.

State aid to energy, climate and environment: European Commission publishes new guidelines

On 27 January 2022, the European Commission adopted the Climate, Energy and Environmental Aid Guidelines (CEEAG), the new guidelines on state aid for climate, environmental protection and energy. These replace the previous 2014-2020 guidelines.

The European Green Deal has set ambitious climate and energy targets. Specifically, it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030.

The EC, estimating that the realization of these objectives will require about EUR 350 million per year of investment, has deemed it appropriate to identify precisely the principles according to which the aid granted by member states to certain projects or sectors are compatible with the EU state aid discipline. Compared to the previous framework, the CEEAG has specified and considerably expanded the categories that will be able to benefit from public funding, making it possible to provide incentives not only in the field of energy production from renewable sources and energy efficiency, but a spectrum that extends to almost all fields of sustainable development, including green mobility, infrastructure, circular economy, reduction of pollution, protection and restoration of biodiversity, as well as measures aimed at ensuring the security of energy supply.

The CEEAG are available through this link.

European Commission adopts new package on circular economy, ecodesign and sustainable consumption

On 30 March 2022, the European Commission presented a package of proposals as part of the European Green Deal and the new Circular Economy Action Plan, with the goal of raising the EU's ambition by making sustainable products our market norm, and that they are therefore more environmentally friendly, circular, and energy efficient throughout the entire life cycle - from the design phase through daily use, changeover, and end-of-life management.

The package includes the following:

  • The framework communication (available through this link)
  • New rules on eco-design and energy labelling including a proposal for a regulation (available through this link) and a working plan for the period 2022-2024 (available through this link)
  • A strategy for sustainable and circular textiles (available through this link)
  • The revision of the Construction Products Regulation (available through this link)
  • A proposal for a directive for consumer empowerment and protection from greenwashing (available through this link)

IEA: A plan to reduce EU dependence on Russian gas

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published a 10-point plan to reduce the European Union's dependence on natural gas from Russia in view of the current military situation.

The IEA, an autonomous organization within the OECD that includes 30 countries including Italy, stressed that the invasion of Ukraine by Russia shows how dependent the EU is on natural gas produced in Russia. Therefore, the agency proposes practical measures to reduce this dependence by more than a third within a year - all this while supporting a safe and cost-effective transition to clean energy. Furthermore, these measures would be in line with the European Green Deal and the EU Commission's "Fit for 55" package.

The IEA plan is available through this link.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.