Italy Secures €17.7B EU Approval For Electricity Storage System

The European Commission stressed that the scheme has a positive impact that outweighs any potential distortion of competition within the EU.

Italy Secures €17.7B EU Approval For Electricity Storage System

In a significant stride towards achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal and the Fit-for-55 package, the European Commission has greenlit Italy’s ambitious €17.7 billion scheme aimed at fostering a centralized electricity storage system. This strategic move is poised to revolutionize the energy landscape by facilitating the integration of renewable energy sources, a critical component in the EU’s mission to combat climate change.

The approved scheme empowers Italy to selectively subsidize companies engaged in developing electricity storage projects, thus ushering in a new era of sustainable energy practices. The financial support will cover both investment and operational expenses, disbursed through annual payments, with the ultimate goal of supporting electricity storage facilities boasting a total operating power of 9 GW and an overall capacity of 71 GWh by the end of 2033.

Italy is mandated to identify beneficiaries through a competitive, transparent, and non-discriminatory bidding process. Developers will vie for support based on proposals that offer the lowest aid per unit of capacity volume. This approach aims to ensure fairness and efficiency in selecting projects that align with the nation’s energy goals.

The commissioners emphasized the importance of curbing renewable energy curtailment and reducing dependence on polluting power plants. By storing excess electricity generated during peak periods, the system enables its utilization during times of scarcity, promoting a more sustainable and reliable energy grid.

The scheme is inclusive of various technologies that meet performance requirements set by Italy’s transmission system operator (TSO) Terna and approved by regulators. Currently, eligible technologies include electrochemical lithium-ion systems and pumped storage hydropower plants. The list of approved technologies will be updated every two years to incorporate emerging advancements.

To facilitate efficient utilization of stored energy, Italy plans to launch a time-shifting trading platform. This platform will pool storage capacity and offer standardized time-shifting products to third parties. Beneficiaries will be obligated to make their assets available on the platform, ensuring optimal use of available capacities.

The European Commission stressed that the scheme has a positive impact that outweighs any potential distortion of competition within the EU. The supported storage facilities are deemed financially unviable without public support, making the aid instrumental in driving the transition towards a greener energy landscape.

This groundbreaking initiative of electricity storage system aligns with the European Green Deal’s goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Fit-for-55 package, introduced through legally binding climate targets, mandates a 55% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The European Commission’s March 2023 recommendations further underscore its commitment to enhancing the deployment of energy storage technologies.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President in charge of competition policy, expressed enthusiasm about the scheme’s potential. “Centralized electricity storage provides flexibility and facilitates the deployment of renewable sources. This innovative scheme will help accelerate the green transition, while minimizing any potential distortions to competition,” she remarked.

As Italy gears up to transform its energy landscape, this visionary scheme stands as a testament to the EU’s commitment to fostering sustainable practices and combatting climate change on a global scale. With the approval of the European Commission, Italy is now poised to take significant strides toward achieving a cleaner, greener future.