The discussion on a European roof to gas prices and more common debt to help member countries to deal with the energy emergency is proceeding slowly, pending the informal summit of leaders in Prague during which the government Dragons intends to propose a new price formation mechanism. The concrete news of the last few days are two: the go-ahead from the Energy Ministers, last Friday, to the package of measures which includes savings mandatory energy, a business revenue cap producing electricity from non-fossil sources and a solidarity contribution at the expense of oil and gas companies. And the agreement of the finance ministers of the 27, reached on Tuesday, on a proposal that would allow states to add a new chapter to their recovery plans with investments and reforms aimed at achieving the objectives of RePower Eu, the plan presented in March to break free from dependence on Russian gas. What does this mean for Italy? If the proposals go through, the next executive will be able to ask the EU for others 2.7 billion in loans to finance investments in infrastructures, technologies or training of workers in view of the green transition and obtain additional ones 10 by renewable energy producers.
The first figure is contained in the proposed Regulation of the Council – will now be negotiated with Parliament And Commission – amending the 2021 rules on the resilience and recovery mechanism (the heart of the Next Generation Eu). The Twenty-seven intend to put on the plate 20 billion additional compared to 750 expected in 2020 to allow Member States to recover from the consequences of pandemic. The money would come from the mechanism auctions of Co2 quotas which is the basis ofEmission Trading System: in short, polluting companies would pay. Countries could ask for a part of it – with a maximum ceiling linked to dependence on fossil fuels and inflation – in the face of the presentation of an additional chapter which, subject to approval by the Commission, would be added to the Recovery and Resilience Plan already presented in Brussels. In addition there would be the option of requesting the “transfer” of some resources from the Just transition fund and from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve to this new item. There table final, which details the quotas allocated to each country, shows that Italy would also be the first beneficiary in this case on an equal footing with the Poland: 2.7 billion.
Meanwhile theObservatory on public accounts of the Catholic University, in an analysis signed by Federico Neri, calculated how many resources Italy could recover from the application of the Commission’s plan to combat price increases. Precious resources, considering that the next tenant of Palazzo Chigi will have to extend the tax credits on energy expenditure (expiring at the end of November and costing approximately 4.7 billion per month) and the cut in excise duties on petrol (in force until the end of October, at a cost of 1 billion per month) and then finalize a budget law in which at least the refinancing of thezeroing of general system charges and the VAT reduction on gas. The ceiling on the revenues of energy producers from wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear and lignite, which today sell at the price of the last unit produced by the most expensive sources, according to the EU proposal will be set at € 180 / megawatt hour against the current average of almost 300 euros of the Italian Single National Price (Pun). The excess would be confiscated and used by the state to help vulnerable companies and families.
Neri estimated the revenue based on the volumes sold during the winter and spring 2021-2022 and on the average Pun of 2022 (327.82 € / MWh), starting from the fact that according to the Arera about the 40% of the energy produced and traded on the Italian Power Exchange comes from so-called “infra-marginal” sources. Applying the cap for seven months, until June 2023, as foreseen by the proposal, would bring about a revenue of approximately 1.4 billion per month, 10 overall. Which could also be used to set a controlled price for final consumers by compensating suppliers. On the other hand, there is no estimate on how much the third pillar of the package, a minimum tax of 33% on extra profits which exceed 120% of the average taxable income of the last three years in activities related to fossil fuels. According to Brussels forecasts, we are talking about residual figures compared to those expected from the revenue ceiling.
In the background remains the hypothesis of arriving at the longed-for decoupling, that is the detachment of the price of renewable energy from that of electricity generated with fossil fuels. Giorgia Meloni she repeated several times that she is ready to act alone, on a national level, but the Observatory’s analysis notes that by doing so “Italian energy producers would see their extra profits on the domestic energy market zero out. Therefore, it would create a strong incentive a sell energy produced from infra-marginal sources on other European markets where the decoupling and the price is still set by cost for marginal firms. Furthermore, foreign infra-marginal companies would abandon the Italian market to sell at higher prices in other countries and keep profits high ”. In short: the result could be aggravating the shortage of raw materials that are already likely to be felt at the end of winter, when storage will have been largely used. For now the other road hypothesized by is also blocked Brothers of Italythat is, the use of structural funds 2014-2020 not yet spent: the vice-president of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, explained that “we will work on further temporary flexibilities” to allow them to be used against the energy crisis, but we will have to wait for the long European negotiations.