(Italiano) Certificati bianchi: evoluzione e prospettive

White certificates, also known as energy efficiency certificates, are a tool for achieving growing energy efficiency goals. The device has come to the attention of industry news in recent years, in particular due to the surge in market prices in 2018 and the extensive dispute that has arisen between proponents and the Energy Services Manager (GSE). Distributors of electricity and natural gas with at least 50,000 customers served are obliged to annually produce a number of certificates corresponding to their target, calculated on the basis of the annual obligation set by ministerial decrees based on the share of energy carriers distributed by them. The certificates are issued according to the energy savings generated by the interventions carried out by obliged distributors or, more commonly, by “voluntary” subjects. Voluntary subjects can sell white certificates to obliged distributors through a specific market managed by the Energy Market Manager (GME). Compulsory distributors, on the other hand, are reimbursed on the basis of white certificates sent to the GSE since they cannot pass on the costs incurred for participation in the scheme to end users. The Italian white certificates scheme is characterized by energy saving objectives that increase annually, by the design of a flexible market system thanks to the presence of volunteers who can sell white certificates to obliged subjects, by the possibility and opportunity to include all sectors and a large number of energy efficiency measures, from the promotion of energy service companies (ESCO). Given that the Italian white certificate scheme is among the longest-lived in the world, it is interesting to illustrate how it has been perfected and evolved over time considering the main stages. In particular, the increase in prices in 2018 prompted the Ministry of Economic Development to intervene with rules designed to calm the price of white certificates and avoid excessive growth in the cost of the scheme. In this way, the increase in charges was avoided, but the market was sacrificed. The dispute, on the other hand, is followed by the constant attempt to make the scheme increasingly rigorous and precise, underestimating the complexity of the calculation of energy savings and the evaluation of concepts such as additionality, i.e. rewarding only interventions that would not have taken place in a scenario. business as usual.

The result was a debate on the effectiveness and actual economic sustainability of the scheme, which was questioned. It is therefore useful to analyze the elements that have positively and negatively influenced the scheme still considered to be virtuous.

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