Law Decree no. 50 of May 17, 2022 – entered into force on May 18, 2022 – (hereinafter also referred to as the “Aid Decree”) adopted “Urgent measures on national energy policies, business productivity and investment attraction and social and Ukrainian crisis’s policies”.
The Aid Decree introduced some innovations on:
- authorization procedures;
- identification of suitable areas for renewables energy;
- measures on tax credits and other incentives;
- provisions for the agricultural sector.
In the following document the Lexia Avvocati Energy team analyses the main new Aid Decree measures on renewable energy.
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Aid Decree: simplifications of authorization procedures
Artt. 6, 7, 10 Aid Decree
Simplifications of the statal Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
For projects subject to an EIA under state jurisdiction, it is stipulated that, in case the opinions of the other administrations involved are conflicting, any resolutions adopted by the Council of Ministers 1 replace the EIA measure (art. 7 Aid Decree).
Such provision sets out that these deliberations merge into the single authorisation procedure, which must be concluded by the competent administration within the following 60 days. If the Council of Ministers decides to issue the EIA measure, after the expiration of the prescribed 60 days, the authorisation is deemed to be granted.
Extension of the EIA
An important clarification is introduced in Article 25 paragraph 5 of Legislative Decree 152/2006,. It specifies that, where the environmental context of reference has not changed in the meantime, the measure extending the EIA may not contain further and different prescriptions with respect to those already contained in the original EIA measure.
Exclusion of overhead power lines from the EIA
Overhead power lines with a nominal operating voltage of more than 150 kW and a route length of more than 15 km are now excluded from the Statal EIA. In addition, those in alternating current underground cables with a route length of more than 40 km are excluded.
Authorisation Procedures for Eligible Areas
The competent authority for landscape matters shall express a non-binding mandatory opinion in case of electrical infrastructures for the connection of RES plants and for those necessary for the national transmission grid development (functional to the increase of energy produced from renewable sources). They should be in eligible areas in the authorisation procedures (including those for the adoption of the EIA).
Once the deadline for expressing this opinion has expired in vain, the competent authority shall in any case decide on the application for authorisation.
Aid decree: identification of suitable areas for renewables energy
Art. 6 dAid Decree
Some amendments have been introduced with regard to the identification of the so-called “suitable areas” for the installation of RES plants.
In particular, together with hypotheses already provided for by art. 20, paragraph 8 of Legislative, have been added the areas that do not fall within the perimeter of the assets subject to protection (pursuant to Legislative Decree no. 42 of 22 January 20042), nor within the buffer zone of such asset.
In this regard, it is specified that “the buffer zone is determined considering a distance from the perimeter of protected assets of 7 kilometres for wind farms and 1 kilometre for photovoltaic plants“.
However, this new provision does not affect the previous hypothesis of suitable areas provided for by Article 20, paragraph 8 of Legislative Decree 199/2021.
Measures on tax credits and other incentives
Artt. 2, 4 and 14 Aid Decree
Article 2 of the Aid Decree amended the regime of the extraordinary contribution, in the form of tax credit, provided for the purchase of electricity and natural gas by companies. It raised the percentage values already provided for by previous decrees.
In particular, the threshold of the contribution was raised to the following measures:
- 25% of the expenditure incurred for the purchase of the same gas, consumed in the second calendar quarter of the year 2022: contribution, in the form of tax credit, in favour of companies for the purchase of natural gas (referred to in Article 4 of Law Decree no. 21/2022);
- 25% of the expenditure incurred for the purchase of the same gas, consumed in the second calendar quarter of the year 2022: extraordinary contribution, in the form of tax credit, in favour of companies with high consumption of natural gas (referred to in Art. 5 of Law Decree no. 17/2022);
- 15% of the expenditure incurred for the purchase of the energy component, used in the second quarter of the year 2022: contribution, in the form of tax credit, in favour of companies for the purchase of electricity (pursuant to Article 3 paragraph 1 of Law Decree 21/2022).
Article 4 of the Aid Decree – amending the regulations set forth in Law Decree no. 4/2022 – now provides, for companies “with a high consumption of natural gas 2” an extension to the first quarter of 2022 of the extraordinary contribution in the form of a tax credit, equal to 10% of the expenditure incurred for the purchase of the same gas.
The tax credit can only be used as compensation and can be transferred to parties other than the aforementioned companies, e.g. credit institutions.
Provisions for the agricultural sector
Art. 8 Aid Decree
Aid may be granted to enterprises in the agricultural, livestock and agro-industrial sector for the construction of renewable energy production plants on the roofs of their production facilities, with a capacity exceeding the average annual electricity consumption (including household consumption). These enterprises can also sell the electricity produced to the grid.
However, since this measure is considered as state aid, it is necessary to wait for the European Commission’s authorisation for the effectiveness of such provision.
Please note that the effectiveness of the provisions of the Aid Decree is subject to its conversion into law, which must necessarily take place within 60 days of its entry into force.
Contact us for further information on Aid Decree news about energy policies.
Avv. Pinella Altiero, Avv. Nicoletta Bezzi
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1 According to art. 5, par. 2, let c-bis) of Law No. 400 of 23 August 1988: “The President of the Council of Ministers may refer to the Council of Ministers, for the purpose of an overall assessment and harmonisation of the public interests involved, the decision of matters on which conflicting assessments have emerged between administrations with different competences in the definition of acts and measures”.
2 I.e. companies operating in one of the sectors listed in Annex 1 of the Decree of the Minister of Ecological Transition No. 541 of 21 December 2021 and which consumed, in the first calendar quarter of the year 2022, a quantity of natural gas for energy uses not less than 25 % of the volume of natural gas indicated in Article 3, paragraph 1, of the same Decree, net of the consumption of natural gas used in thermoelectric uses.