Annual Report 2018
Country Reports


Luca Benedetti and Matteo Gianni Gestore dei Servizi Energetici - GSE



At the end of 2018, Italy presented to the EU Commission the draft of the National integrated Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), setting challenging energy and environmental targets for 2030. NECP was presented by the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructures, but it was prepared with the collaboration of various high level technical and research bodies.

Renewables are expected to grow remarkably, getting to very high levels of penetration in the electricity sector, above 50%. A key role will be played by mature technologies such as photovoltaic and wind plants, which will be promoted through competitive mechanisms and regulatory actions. However, innovative and promising technologies, including marine, are also encouraged to give a contribution to 2030 targets. In that context, the NECP draft announced that ad-hoc measurements will be put in force for such innovative technologies.

The cluster “Blue Italian Growth” (BIG), led by the Italian National Research Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – CNR), has continued its progress towards the establishment of an open structure for the aggregation of all the national actors involved in all the different sectors of the Blue Economy, including Marine Renewables.  Sectoral Action Plans have been developed, and are currently being finalized.



While waiting for the measurements foreseen by the new Italian NECP, D.M. 23/06/2016 was the latest operative support scheme, currently in force. The Decree updated the support scheme previously regulated by DM 6, July 2012. The latter reviewed the preceding framework based on Feed-in Tariffs and Green Certificates, for renewable plants (other than Photovoltaic) in operation starting from 1 January 2013.

The most recent DM identifies four different ways of access to incentives: direct access, bid auctions (Dutch Auctions), registries for new power plants, for fully reconstructed power plants, for reactivated, empowered and hybrid power plants and registries for rebuilding intervention. The Decree defines the criteria to access the registries and the Dutch Auctions and establishes specific limits for the annual capacity eligible to incentives. These limits are set up differently for each kind of renewable energy source and for all the different ways of access to incentives (registries or bid auctions).

In general, the Decree grants a fixed tariff plus, in some cases, a specific premium, to provide incentives to net electricity fed into the grid. The fixed tariff is different according to each source, technology, and capacity range considered. Power plants with a capacity > 500 kW can only receive the incentive (fixed tariff minus electricity hourly zonal price, plus premiums if foreseen). Power plants with a capacity ≤ 500 kW can alternatively receive a Feed-in Tariff composed by the fixed tariff plus, in some cases, a specific premium.

In the Dutch Auctions, the maximum requested value of the tariff cannot be higher than a 2% discount of the reference value and the minimum value cannot be lower than a 40% discount of the reference value. The incentives last for the average conventional plant life of each typology of power plant. All the support schemes are managed by the Italian Energy Service Operator (Gestore Servizi Energetici - GSE), the body in charge of managing all the incentives to renewable energy.

New, fully reconstructed, reactivated or empowered wave and tidal energy power plants can access directly to incentives if their capacity is not greater than 60 kW, otherwise they must apply for access to registries. The direct access to incentive was in force up to the end of 2017, but no plant has benefited from this incentive.

13602-italy-table1.jpg1If the power plant is built by the Public Administration, the maximum capacity eligible to direct access is doubled (120 kW).







From 2013 to 2016, the total annual capacity (MW) eligible for access to registries, and therefore for the granting of incentives, amounted to 6 MW. To this day, only one project, with capacity of 99 kW, located in Tuscany, retains the right to access incentives, but it has not been realized yet. The Decree does not provide for Dutch Auctions in the case of wave and tidal energy power plants.

For new wave and tidal energy power plants, DM 23/6/2016 confirmed the previous tariff, as follows:






The Directive 2014/89/EU on Marine Spatial Planning is also relevant for the specific Blue Energy sector, as it establishes a framework for the implementation of maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management by Member States, aimed at promoting the sustainable growth of maritime economies, the sustainable development of marine areas and the sustainable use of marine resources. The Directive has been recently transposed into the Italian legislation via the D. Lgs 201/2016.



Italy relies on a public research programme aimed at maintaining and improving the national energy system, including the still limited marine energy sector. Such programme, named Ricerca di Sistema (System Research), pursues as its main objective the promotion, organization and management, of basic and industrial research, and of the related technological development, finally ensuring maximum fruition of results to all citizens and end users.

The Committee of Research Experts for the Electricity Sector (Comitato di Esperti di Ricerca per il Settore Elettrico - CERSE ) plays a strategic role in orienting R&D activities towards the innovation of the electrical system, through funding under the EU principles that regulate  State aid for Research and Development and Innovation. (Communication from the Commission 2014/C 198/01). The CERSE is composed of five members, appointed by the Minister of Economic Development, and is responsible for regulating public funding for research projects of general interest in the electricity sector.
The Ministry of Education, University and Research (Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca – MIUR) has launched two calls for proposals to grant funding for strategic research activities, including the Blue Energy sector. In particular, two Directorial Decrees have recently been issued:
  • Decree N. 1610/3 August 2016, for the recognition and the subsequent development of four national technology clusters aimed at coordinating public and private research initiatives, as well as national governance and territorial policies, in accordance with the representatives of major national enterprises. One of the clusters is dedicated to the Economy of the Sea, with specific reference to Blue Energy as one of the fields of interest. Among these, potentially connected sectors are also explicitly mentioned, such as shipbuilding, environmental monitoring and protection, aquaculture and blue biotechnologies. Applicants, constituted as competing consortiums, were requested to formally authorise a representative selected among their members, in the form of an individual authorisation, and to further substantiate their initiative by presenting an Action Plan and two original industrial research projects. Applications have been assessed according to the quality of the proposed Action Plan and projects, and the evaluation results published in the Directorial Decree N.1853/26-07-2017. The cluster “Blue Italian Growth” (BIG), led by the Italian National Research Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – CNR), has been granted access to financial support, while the Blue Energy project TEOREMA (Technological Solutions For Multi-Objective Off-Shore Energy Platforms), ranked first in its category, is to enter into negotiation.
  • Decree N. 1735/13 July 2017, a call for proposals targeted at projects focused on industrial research and experimental development in the 12 areas of specialization individuated by the Italian National Research Programme (Programma Nazionale per la Ricerca – PNR) 2015-2020. The strategic areas include Blue Growth, and Blue Energy is explicitly mentioned as a relevant sector. 
Such initiatives are expected to contribute to the rationalization of the Italian activities in the Blue Energy field, and to systematically support the so far isolated efforts of the national actors, amplifying their collective impact by connecting different economic sectors, as well as relevant stakeholders from the business community, the government and civil society, thus also helping to create a systematic framework of rules and incentives. As a matter of fact, the Italian research community has so far resorted to a variety of independent public funding sources, either national or international, which, albeit significant in terms of prestige, do not guarantee the constant, coherent and predictable support required to fully exploit the Italian potential and to consolidate Italy’s position in the international market.