Analytics. For renewable energies, there is a problem to be solved: storage

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Italy needs new renewable energy plants. To achieve it there is not only the obstacle of uncertain and contradictory rules. Other prerequisites are missing, such as increasing the storage capacity and updating the network.

Necessary facilities

necessity Reduce carbon dioxide emissions On the basis of European commitments and reducing dependence on foreign gas and oil, after recent geopolitical developments, Italy requires acceleration of electricity production from renewable sources.

RSE polls show that by 2030 the hydropower, solar and wind sectors will have to grow overall by 63 percent and this Renewable for heat use And in order to use transportation, they will have to grow by 38 percent and 40 percent, respectively. It is estimated that the adoption of the “Green Deal” will require the installation of 26 new gigawatts Plants from renewable sources programmable and 83 GW of non-programmable renewable sources (mainly wind force And Solar). Over the next eight years, 12.3 GW of wind capacity will have to be installed, 3.2 of which is offshore, and about 30 GW of new solar PV plants. Quantitative targets should be even more ambitious if the European Fit for 55 climate package is taken into account.

Therefore, the construction of renewable energy plants for Italy becomes a strategic priority. However, the current entanglement of uncertain and contradictory rules and conflicting climate between central and regional administrations makes this impossible. In recent years, there has been an explosion in the number of initiatives, but this has not been matched by the number of licenses issued: of the approximately 23 GW wind farms that have been applied for since 2017, only 651 MW have been approved on the basis of an Environmental Impact Assessment (VIA), While 89 percent of the projects are still in the initial stage of licensing procedures. Furthermore, judgments were made for only 509 MW confirming that the projects are close to permitting, while in 2017-2020 a refusal was issued for 1,373 MW. A more problematic situation occurs in the photovoltaic sector.

Recently, the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, said that the government would soon take steps to speed up the issuance of licenses to install new energy sources. This is an encouraging sign. However, the importance of timing is exaggerated in the public debate, while other essential conditions are overlooked.

shape 1

The drawing
Source: Regions 2030

Basic conditions

One of the prerequisites is the creation of sufficient storage capacity, that is, the ability to accumulate and store energy produced, but not immediately consumed: 1 megawatt of PV is produced throughout the day in a coarse manner and is not necessarily synchronized with the needs of the consumer; It certainly fails to cover all 8,760 hours in a year. Storage is essential as a large share of energy is produced from non-programmable renewable sources and daily or seasonal accumulations bring energy demand into line and resource availability when production and consumption are not simultaneous. This requires, for small factories, the use of batteries which store the energy produced when there is excess supply in the grid and which release it when there is excess demand; For large stations, it requires the exploitation of pumping water by investing in the north.

Another requirement is the adoption of smart electricity systems to develop a capacity market that links large-scale, non-programmable power generation with consumption needs.

In conventional systems, this role is played by natural gas thermal power plants, which remain available to the grid (off or at minimum speed for most of the time, ready to activate production if needed). play this role.

The third requirement, again in the field of storage, is the creation of “Power to Gas”, a system that uses electricity already produced from renewable sources, which is in surplus compared to demand, to obtain green hydrogen and then combines it with carbon dioxide to produce methane to be fed into the public grid And use it to produce energy when necessary. The technology, which is now marketable and approved by some manufacturers of cars and farm tractors, allows production surpluses to be used that would otherwise be unusable and avoids the governing body from paying empty-handed to generate excess power or having to stop production that is not otherwise usable. immediately.

Figure 2

The drawing

To achieve these conditions, the contribution of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan will be crucial. The decision of the Minister of Economic Development, dated January 27, 2022, allocates €1 billion for investment 5.1 “Renewable energies and batteries”, to support the development of energy generation technologies from renewable sources.

Therefore, it is necessary not only to revoke licenses, but also to prepare an industrial plan to support storage and network modernization activities. As part of the review of the licensing process, implementation of the legislative decree November 8, 2021, n. 199 To promote renewable sources, the government will be able to provide incentive mechanisms that help small producers (families and small businesses) to equip themselves with storage technologies that would otherwise be expensive and may instead demand backers of large plants (eg, higher to 100 MW) To provide them with appropriate storage technologies, with low cost increases in terms of capital employed and therefore sustainable.

Authors: Di Biagio Bussoni (Heads the Lecce Group for Global Governance), Maria Elena Camarda (Director of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers), Vincenzo Delberti (Engineer and PhD in Energy) – Courtesy of www. lavoce. information

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