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(en) Italy, Sicilia Libertaria: Energy sharing does not pass through the State (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Sun, 7 Apr 2024 07:48:23 +0300

In recent months, interest has been renewed around energy communities, or it would be better to say fears have returned. Coincidentally, it was the institutions that created a bit of a stir. It took the European Commission more than a year to evaluate the ministerial decree with which the Meloni government finally wanted to start giving some certain indications. And after receiving the laborious approval, the government still took another few months to write a decree of about ten pages where the most important decisions are postponed. The latest news in this sense are the 159 pages drawn up by the Energy Services Manager at the end of February which indicate an infinite series of bureaucratic obligations, formalities and requirements that will make your head spin. Camurries that test even the most willing person and that reveal the real will of the State: if you want to share energy you can do it, but in our way and without affecting the profits of Eni and Snam and Terna, which are ultimately also the ours given the shareholding that the State holds in each of these companies.

Let's go in order. We have already written about energy communities in recent months, here we will simply remind you that the energy community is made up of people, public or private bodies who produce, manage and use the energy of one or more renewable energy systems (usually photovoltaic or wind ). This form of self-consumption occurs through voluntary membership of a legal entity, which is the primary condition for being able to access the economic benefits, namely the 5.7 billion in incentives provided by the government. This is a first hitch which not only clashes with the possibility of informal membership but which makes only the energy communities that adhere to state criteria economically advantageous. Another problematic aspect concerns the nature of the incentives themselves: more precisely, 3.5 billion euros will be guaranteed through a tariff incentive, which will be financed with a levy on the electricity bills of the entire Italian population, to guarantee communities a advantageous electricity tariff; the second allocation, of 2.2 billion, comes from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, is a non-repayable contribution and will serve to finance up to 40% of projects for the construction of plants in municipalities with fewer than 5 thousand inhabitants. Cracks are opening up on this front too, which have so far been kept quiet by supporters of renewable sources without any ifs or buts.

Given that the energy transition must necessarily be based on these forms of energy, why must the energy communities of a few, let's say many if we want to be optimistic, have to be paid for by everyone through direct or indirect taxation? Why not push for them to be paid through the extraordinary speculative profits obtained in recent years by energy companies? In any case, four years and one long series of decrees and resolutions. A period of time during which the hundreds of energy communities set up throughout Italy were waiting to understand how to activate the state incentives and the PNRR funds allocated during construction to support self-consumption projects. With the result that the driving force behind energy sharing has in the meantime been somewhat lost. And above all it is still regulated by the State, which in fact has set a series of limits that partially block its potential. For example, the constraint of connection to the primary substation for end customers and for production plants, or the maximum size of the latter (one megawatt), have ensured that the communities emerging so far are, and will be, of medium-small. Let it never happen that we can cause great inconvenience to those who manage energy in Italy.

Likewise, companies like Enel, instead of opposing the energy communities that in theory could have undermined their national dominance, have begun to act as consultants to the Municipalities; who on the other hand, in the absence of specialized personnel, were happy to delegate the complex organization, forgetting that in addition to economic convenience, in theory the energy community is focused on sharing an increasingly essential good such as energy. Furthermore, at the explicit request of the European Commission, companies in difficulty cannot access the incentives due to state aid legislation. Never let the State start supporting the real economy, rather it is better to take on the debts of failing managements such as the former Ilva or the former Fiat - there state aid is fine for the Commission.

Another underestimated aspect on which energy communities could intervene more widely is that of energy poverty. It is no coincidence that in a very early formulation the renewable energy communities were known as CERS, i.e. solidarity. And so they remained in the meaning of some experiences such as those promoted by Legambiente in Naples, of the ènostra cooperative and of other realities. An idea that was instead lost in the measures arrived at by the government. This is why in our opinion the greatest effort must be placed on awareness and self-organization. To try to push where the State stops instead.

There are quite a few Municipalities that are taking action, attracted above all, beyond the rhetoric, by the possibility of obtaining extra revenues thanks to the sharing of energy with which they can offer a few more small services, perhaps voted for by the same people belonging to the energy communities . However, this model does not resolve the centralization of the energy system, it simply allows those who have the means - photovoltaic systems, a home of their own, cultural tools, the possibility of following a bureaucratic practice for years - to carve out small spaces of autonomy. The real cornerstone of energy communities should be local energy production, to be provided for example to those who cannot afford to install a photovoltaic system or to those who are renting or to those who don't even have a home, in any case freeing people from supplies of electricity and gas by large companies. It is a slow but necessary process, in which it is necessary to insert the partial opening of the States to undermine the oligopolistic model of fossil fuels.

Andrea Turco

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