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Italy: New Legislation on Alternative Fuels in Force

(Feb. 13, 2017) On January 14, 2017, new legislation implementing European Union regulations on alternative fuels entered into effect in Italy. (Legislative Decree No. 257 of December 16, 2016, Implementing Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (L.D. No. 257), GAZZETTA UFFICIALE (Jan. 13, 2017), NORMATTIVA (in Italian); Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure, 2014 O.J. (L 307) 1, EUR-LEX.)

Legislative Decree No. 257 seeks to reduce Italy’s dependency on foreign oil and to mitigate environmental impacts caused in the transportation sector. (L. D. No. 257, art. 1(1).) To that end, the legislation sets forth minimum requirements for the construction of infrastructure; for the development of alternative fuels and the establishment of charging stations for electric vehicles; and for establishing charging stations for vehicles that use natural gas, hydrogen, and liquified oil gas.  (Id. art. 1(1).)

Strategic Framework

The law mandates the establishment of a National Strategic Framework (NSF) for the development of an alternative fuels market in the transportation sector and for the creation of related infrastructure. (Id. art. 3(1).)  The NSF regulates the supply of natural gas for transportation and for other uses and also the development of the supply of liquified natural gas for maritime and inland water nagivation and for road transportation, among other uses. The second subsection covers the development of the supply of compressed natural gas to be used in connection with road transportation.  (Id. art. 3(4).)  Further specifications for the NSF are included in an Annex to Legislative Decree No. 257.

Charging Stations

New rules on the supply of electricity for transportation are also included. (Id. art. 4(1).)  Before December 31, 2020, an adequate number of charging stations accessible to the public must be created throughout the country in order to facilitate urban and suburban transportation services in highly populated areas. (Id. art. 4(1).)  Specific incentives are established for the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles, for the supply of hydrogen used for road transportation, and for the supply of natural gas and liquified oil gas used for transportation. (Id. arts. 4(10), 5, 6, & 7.)

The law provides that industry must give clear, coherent, and “appropriate” information to consumers concerning motor vehicles that may use alternative fuels that will become available on the market. (Id. art. 8(1).)

Simplification of Administrative Procedures

The law includes measures simplifying administrative procedures for the granting of government permits related to the construction of infrastructure throughout the country for the storage and transport of natural liquified gas considered to be in the national interest. (Id. art. 9(1).)  The law sets forth strict terms for administrative procedures to review substantial amendments of the master plan of the port system, to implement the construction of infrastructure for new alternative fuels in a port area or in an area of land contiguous to it. (Id. art. 13(1).)

Additional Technical Specifications

The new legislation contains an annex with the technical specifications applicable to recharging stations for motor vehicles. In particular, new provisions regulate the standard power for alternate current designed for electric vehicles.  (Technical Specifications, art. 1.1.)  Technical specifications are also included for natural gas refueling stations.  (Id. art. 3.1.)