Italy Basilicata region to boost renewable energy

POTENZA, Italy (Reuters) - Italy’s southern region of Basilicata wants to become self-sufficient in power supplies by 2020 by boosting its renewable energy capacity by more than fivefold to about 1,600 megawatt, regional authorities said.

Basilicata with a population of about 600,000 people consumes 3,000 gigawatt hours of electricity a year and at present covers half of its needs with its own output generated mostly at gas and oil-fueled power plants, they said.

“We want to arrive at self-sufficiency and go beyond it. The new energy plan bets on renewable energy,” Basilicata region President Vito De Filippo told reporters at a briefing on Friday at the regional capital of Potenza.

Under the new plan approved earlier this year, sun-lit and windy Basilicata will add 1,000 MW of installed wind power generation capacity to existing 200 MW, De Filippo said.

Photovoltaic capacity which turns sunlight into power is expected to rise by 300 MW from the current 60-70 MW, Massimo Scuderi, Director General of Societa Energetica Lucana energy company which is fully owned by the region, told Reuters.

The new energy plan also includes development of hydropower and biomass-fueled power generation.

Under the plan, the region will spend 40 million euros ($52.35 million) on incentives for renewable energy, 80 million euros to boost energy efficiency and 30 million euros to support research of innovative energy technologies.

Reporting by Svetlana Kovalyova; editing by James Jukwey