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European commission sends ‘reasoned opinion’ to Italy for not accepting guarantees of orign

The European Commission last week sent a reasoned opinion to Italy for failure to recognise certain guarantees of origin from other EU Member States. Under an EU Directive on electricity production from renewable energy sources,


Member States are required to establish a system of guarantees of origin and, as a general rule, to recognise those of other Member States. The Commission’s reasoned opinion calls on Italy to take the necessary measures to comply with the Directive within two months.

Several companies have complained that Italy refused to recognise guarantees of origin from France, Greece and Slovenia for renewable energy produced in 2005. Following investigation, the Commission has found that the refusal to recognise guarantees of origin from 2005 is unjustified. Therefore, Italy’s action constitutes a breach of Article 5(4) of the Directive.

Italy has a “green certificate” regime whereby electricity suppliers are obliged to hold “green certificates” (proof of the renewable provenance) for a certain share of their electricity. Suppliers importing electricity may be exempted from this obligation if they instead hold guarantees of origin (a European wide proof of the renewable provenance of electricity) from other Member States. In general terms, Italy recognises guarantees of origin, in accordance with the Directive, and chooses to use them in conjunction with the national “green certificate” obligation.

Prior to the entry into force of the Directive Italy accepted a range of certificates (such as the European energy certification scheme, RECS). Following the implementation of the Directive, Italian law requires guarantees of origin as the sole valid certificate for gaining exemption from the green certificate obligation. Because some other Member States were delayed and had not yet completely implemented the Directive Italy decided that guarantees of origin issued in 2005 from these countries could not be treated as reliable and therefore refused to recognise them.

The Commission has found that this systematic refusal to recognise guarantees of origin duly issued in other Member States was unjustified.