Now that the final green light has been given to the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), Italy received the first tranche of funding in the summer (about 13% of the funds).

For over three months, the Government has been working in parallel on the governance system responsible for implementing the plan and defining the procedures and rules that will underpin the various projects.

On the simplification front to speed up investment and implementation of the NRRP measures, the Government has already launched the following regulations.

A decree relating to the complementary fund to the plan and acceleration of investments, with respect to which, during parliamentary examination, important amendments were approved. In particular, a first measure specifies that, within the scope of the allocation of the fund to the Ministry of Transport, electrification of docks (cold ironing) may also take place via a system powered by biogas. The measure is allocated 80 million euros for the year 2021, 150 million euros for the year 2022, 160 million euros for the year 2023, 140 million euros for the year 2024, 160 million euros for the year 2025 and 10 million euros for the year 2026. Also within the scope of the resources entrusted to the Ministry of Transport, for the renewal of the means of naval transport, funding is envisaged (up to 50 per cent of the related costs) for interventions aimed at the construction of natural gas liquefaction plants for the decarbonisation of transport in the maritime sector, as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG and Bio-LNG) refuelling points in ports, with the related storage capacities and the purchase of the naval units necessary to support the activities of refuelling of fuel for ship propulsion (so-called bunkering, carried out with the aid of a system of bunkers). bunkering, carried out with lighters) starting from national regasification terminals. To this end resources equal to 7 million euros for each of the years 2021 and 2022, 42.3 million euros for the year 2023, 64.4 million euros for the year 2024, 58 million euros for the year 2025 and 41.3 million euros for the year 2026 are foreseen.

A decree on governance and simplification, with which the national regulatory framework has been defined to simplify procedures and facilitate the achievement of the goals and objectives envisaged by the NRRP, the complementary fund and the National Climate and Energy Plan (PNIEC). 

Important measures for the sector were introduced during parliamentary passage. In particular, for biogas plants up to 300kW, incentivized pursuant to Law 145/2018 et seq., the possibility of using effluents and by-products on a prevalent basis is unlocked; on the biomethane front, on the other hand, the list of matrices suitable for the production of advanced biomethane for the purposes of the Ministerial Decree of March 2, 2018 is clarified and the process of connection to the gas network is streamlined to facilitate its introduction into the network.

Finally, a decree for the strengthening of the administrative capacity of Public Administrations to implement the National Reform Programme, within which it is foreseen, among other things, the strengthening of the structure of the Ministry for Ecological Transition with new hires to define an ad hoc task force for the implementation of the National Reform Programme and the possibility of making use of the support of ENEA and ISPRA resources.

Alongside this substantial and complex body of legislation is the work carried out by the structures of the Ministry for Ecological Transition on projects linked, in particular, to the biomethane development project.

Just before the summer, the legislative decree implementing RED II was approved, sent to Parliament for its opinion at the beginning of August and on which Parliament will express its opinion by October.

In this decree, aimed at the transposition of the provisions of Directive 2018/2001, so-called RED II, were also included the principles devices for the implementation of the biomethane project and reforms to support the development of biomethane intended for injection into the network for uses other than transport, provided by the PNRR. The provisions of this primary regulation will then be declined by an implementing ministerial decree that will detail the methods for recognizing the capital contribution and the new incentive tariff in support of biomethane production. In addition, also in this implementing legislative decree, the expiration of the March 2, 2018 DM on biomethane in transportation was extended from 2022 to 2026.

To complete the legislative activity related to the implementation of the NRRP, the Ministry of Ecological Transition is also working on the aforementioned ministerial decree implementing the rules laid down in the legislative decree transposing RED II to detail the measures referred to biogas and biomethane. This decree will have to be notified to Brussels presumably by September.

In addition to this important regulatory production, which is the basis for the implementation of measures related to agricultural biogas and biomethane in the coming years, the node of the reform plan of incentives for renewables is still open. Above all, the Fer 2 Ministerial Decree, which was also intended to regulate measures on biogas for electricity production and the implementing decree that regulates the methods and criteria for incentives for biogas plants that came into operation before 31.12.2007, which remain blocked by the delays accumulated in the Government’s implementing regulations.

The next few months remain crucial for the definition of the new regulatory framework on which the prospects for development of the sector in the coming years will depend. The Consortium will continue its work of dialogue with the institutions and as spokesman for the requests of the sector, aware that the proposed comparison can contribute to the formation of a “better legislation”.