Italy Regulates Fair Competition – Opportunity for NGV Industry

| Italy

Mr Mario Monti, Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance and Governor of the European Investment Bank for the Italian Republic, recently signed into law measures to advance issues of fair competition, including measures to deregulate fuel distribution in Italy. NGV System Italia, the Italian natural gas vehicle association, has summarised the sections pertaining to clauses that currently impose limiting conditions upon the NGV industry in Italy.

The decree Disposizioni urgenti per la concorrenza, lo sviluppo delle infrastrutture e la competitivita — “Urgent provisions for competition, development of infrastructure and competitiveness” (12A03524) — was proposed by the Italian Government, endorsed by the Chamber of Deputies and published in the Official Gazette (3 April 2012).

NGV System Italia summarises as follows:

– Clause 10 – CNG self-service and multi-dispensers without the current restrictions: provides for the obligation of a decree to be issued by the Ministry of the Interior to “modernize” and amend the regulations pertaining to self-service and natural gas multi-dispensers, eliminating the constraints that continue to exist (forecourt supervision, impossibility of simultaneously dispensing gaseous and liquid fuels from the same pump) and compressors for domestic purposes; the expected result is that, once the appropriate safety specifications have been determined, it will be possible to refuel during the night and at other times when service stations are closed (self service) and to install natural gas dispensers in traditional refuelling stations without the current restraints regarding the distance between dispensing units (multi-dispensers);

– Clause 12 – Separation of cylinder weight from overall weight: introduction of an allowance on the total “weight” of natural gas vehicles (including bi-fuel), LPG, hybrid and electric vehicles, equipped with electronic stability control. This involves a “decoupling of the gas cylinder weight from the total weight” so as to “increase” the payload of trucks running on ecological fuel which are currently penalized on account of their additional tanks;

– Clause 14 – Competitive bidding: The decree envisages an obligation to ban separate lots of natural gas and other alternative fuel vehicles (and not aggregated as now) and will have the effect of preventing the cannibalization of natural gas vehicles;

– Clauses 8 and 9: Simplification of authorization and bureaucracy: this will apply to the opening of new natural gas and biomethane refuelling stations.

N.B: The issuing of implementing decrees on renewable energy sources aimed at promoting the production and injection of biomethane (from biomass and agro-waste) into the gas network is still awaited. The provisions of the decree law “Urgent provisions for competition, infrastructure development and competitiveness” above and the pending implementing decrees on renewable energy sources should provide the initial impetus for developing mobility based on gas from renewable sources.

NGV System Italia believes that progress is also being made to popularise the use of NGV and biogas in regulatory terms due to the fact that natural gas is now recognized as a key asset in the national energy mix of the Italian transports sector.

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