Agriculture decree: photovoltaic projects at risk


Emma Potter

Contradictions and risks

The decree also appears to directly contradict the guidelines of Suitable Areas Decreewhose publication was expected in June 2022, and the National Integrated Energy Climate Plan (PNIEC).

If the Agriculture Decree were approved without modifications, the objective of developing photovoltaics would become unattainable. Blocking these projects would not only prevent environmental goals from being achieved, but would also have a significant economic impact.

2022 saw a savings of around 25 billion euros on the cost of electricity thanks to the reduced use of fossil fuels, demonstrating the economic effectiveness of renewables. Furthermore, the construction of medium and large ground-mounted photovoltaic systems is crucial to further reduce energy costs.

The press release states that tripling the renewable installations as established at the G7 would require less than 1% of agricultural areas of our country, and which would be needed to achieve the less ambitious objective of REPowerEU only 0.5% of agricultural land.

A stable and favorable regulatory framework is necessary

FREE hopes for a resolute intervention from the Presidency of the Council to prevent the decree from blocking progress of new photovoltaic projects.

An open and constructive dialogue with the associations represented by FREE is essential to discuss these crucial issues, ensuring that Italy not only respects its environmental commitments but also promotes a sustainable economic model.

The energy transition industry is ready to expand in Italy, creating new jobs and increasing the national production capacity of renewable technologies. However, to achieve these objectives it is essential to have a stable and favorable regulatory framework.

The associations

The FREE coordination represents the associations: ADICONSUM – Italian Association for Consumer and Environmental Protection, AICARR – Italian Association of Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration, AIEL – Italian Association of Agroforestry Energies, ANEV – National Association of Wind Energy, ARSE – Emission Free Heating Association, ASSISTAL – National Association of Manufacturers of Energy Efficiency Plants and Services – ESCo and Facility Management, ASSOESCO – Italian Association of Energy Service Companies and Energy Efficiency Operators, ASSOPETROLI-ASSOENERGIA, ATER – Association of Renewable Energy Technicians, CIB – Italian Biogas Consortium and Gasification, CIA Veneto, FUTURE ELECTRICITY, FEDERIDROELETTRICA, FIRE – Italian Federation for the Rational Use of Energy, GBC ITALIA – Green Building Council Italy, GIGA – Informal Group for Geothermal Energy and the Environment, ISES Italy, ITABIA – Italian Association Biomass, ITALCOGEN, ITALIA Solare, KYOTO CLUB, NEW ENERGY – Puglia Production District, LEGAMBIENTE, Motus-E. Order of Engineers of Rome, Association “Yes to renewable energy, No to nuclear energy”, Bionet Green Chemistry, CITERA, CSI Piedmont, Energy Department of the University of Palermo, GREENPEACE ITALIA, IRE Institute, MSA – Movement for the Development of Alternative Energy, POLIMI, RE -CORD Florence, Sotto il Monte Solare, WWF ITALIA, Liter of Light.

Legambiente's appeal on the Agriculture Decree

Also Legambiente launched his appeal on Agriculture Decree. Through its president Stefano Ciafanithe association raises important criticisms of the decree it imposes generalized restrictions on the installation of solar panels on agricultural land and on the reorganization of the Forestry, Environmental and Agri-Food Unit Command (CUFAA) of the Carabinieri, which is expected to move from the management of the Ministry of the Environment to that of Agriculture.

This transfer, according to Ciafani, could seriously compromise operations against environmental crime in Italy. Furthermore, the decree does not address the real causes of the continuous consumption of agricultural land, mainly linked to new constructions. The association appeals to the Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, for an immediate suspension of the approval of the decree, underlining the importance of considering alternative approaches such as agrivoltaicswhich allows coexistence between agri-food and energy production.