On 23 April 2010 the Italian Chamber of Deputies proposed an amendment to the latest draft of Italy’s so-called “Community Law 2009”, the yearly framework law delegating the Government to enact by decree the rules necessary to comply with the mandatory provisions of European Community Law. In particular, the Chamber of Deputies proposes that, when implementing Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of renewable energy sources, the Government should provide that renewable energy projects with a peak capacity of up to 1 MW be authorised through a simplified “start of works” declaration (dichiarazione di inizio attività or “DIA”).
This proposal is a reaction to the Constitutional Court’s recent decisions no. 119/10 and no. 124/10, declaring illegitimate the regional laws of Apulia and Calabria respectively. These regional laws had unilaterally allowed for the authorisation of 1 MW or 500 KW projects by means of a simple DIA, blatantly contradicting federal law no. 387/2003, which requires a lengthy autorizzazione unica procedure for much smaller projects (e.g., photovoltaic projects above 20 KW or wind energy projects above 60 KW). These decisions by the Constitutional Court have caused significant uncertainty in the market as to the validity and risks of previously authorised DIA projects in Apulia and Calabria (see On the Subject, 29 March 2010) and are widely perceived as an obstacle to the expedited development and financing of renewable energy plants in Italy. The Chamber of Deputies has taken these concerns seriously and reacted by proposing on a federal level what the Apulia and Calabria regions had in the past attempted to achieve without the necessary federal backing.
The proposed amendment must now be approved by the Italian Senate before it can become law. Assuming that the proposal will be approved, this does not yet mean that renewable energy projects of up to 1 MW are automatically subject to the simplified DIA procedure. It is simply a mandate to the Government to introduce such a rule. The Government must enact the necessary provisions by legislative decree within the same deadline as for transposing the entire Directive 2009/28/EC into national law, i.e., 5 December 2010.