Energy, paradox Sicily: lots of sun but no panels

The president of the Sicilian Region Renato Schifani threatens not to give the green light to new photovoltaic plants. He asks for compensation, to cut the bill for those who live on the island. The risk is a slowdown that could have repercussions on the European objectives to reduce emissions: by 2030, 45 percent of energy must be produced from renewable sources

Paradox number one: Sicily is the Italian region with the most sun but is just sixth for the production of photovoltaic energy. Paradox number two: in Sicily there are hundreds of requests to install solar panels, there is one of the largest European factories to produce them, but the Region threatens to block the practices if there is no compensation: it does not ask for hard cash but which, hosting plants, cut the bill to the Sicilians.

What does Palermo ask for?

The claims of the governor Renato Schifani (Forza Italia) create friction in the center-right majority of the government, perplexity among entrepreneurs and a certain uncertainty among those who have planned to rent, or sell, their piece of land to put up the panels.

Distant European goals

Not only. There is a risk of undermining the goal, enshrined in European plans, of having 45 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2030, as well as a 55 percent cut in emissions.

Projects on the launch pad

From this point of view, the southernmost region of Italy could become one of the engines of our country: the projects awaiting the go-ahead are potentially worth around 36 gigawatts, 40 percent more than the photovoltaic currently generated throughout the peninsula .

The plants and the landscape

However, the Palermo government claims that the panels damage the landscape and is claiming a return, also because photovoltaics would not bring work to Sicily (but Svimez estimates thousands of employed people) and the energy produced in Trinacria would not remain there.

The tube tax

Electricity travels on wires, a bit like gas in pipes. For methane imported from Algeria twenty years ago, the island imposed a tax to compensate for the passage of the pipelines. Some time later Brussels rejected it.