Ms Valentina Bagozzi is the Head of the Energy and Utilities Market sector of Confartigianato Imprese (Association of artisans and small businesses). She is responsible for relations with Institutions, Regulatory Authorities, Associations of non-domestic consumers, domestic consumers & market operators. Valentina deals with analysis of European, national & regulatory legislation with particular reference to the retail market, consumer protection regulations, networks and distribution, renewable sources & energy taxation. She is also in charge of drafting of strategic and trade union positioning documents and regulatory proposals.

SMEPlus: Why is energy saving important for industrial SMEs?

Valentina Bagozzi, Confartigianato: In our country, a distinction has to be made between energy-intensive SMEs, for which there is a general relief linked to consumption, and non-energy-intensive industrial SMEs not eligible for this relief. The latter have an interest in making energy savings because by using the same energy to produce more, efficiency represents a cost reduction. In general, for all industrial SMEs, energy efficiency is linked to an increased public appreciation of the rational and environmentally sustainable use of resources. Finally, industrial SMEs participating in public tenders see in the green public procurement rules an incentive for energy efficiency in the form of a bonus in the tender score.

SMEPlus: Why is energy saving important for your region?

Valentina Bagozzi: Lazio is home to an important chemical-pharmaceutical cluster, a sector characterised by a fairly high level of consumption. In addition, since the region is home to Italy's capital city, there is a sector of public service companies in buildings such as public administration, schools & health. In this sector there are several large public hospitals serving the central-southern Italy  (Gemelli, San Camillo-Forlanini, Sant'Andrea, Fatebenefratelli, Tor Vergata).

SMEPlus: Does energy efficiency have an impact on the public image of an industrial SME?

Valentina Bagozzi: It can have an impact due to the greater attention paid by the community to environmental sustainability issues, of which efficiency is a component. Some events involving major industrial sites, such as the ILVA plants, have had the effect of bringing the relationship between environment and work back to public attention.

SMEPlus: Can good practices be exchanged and implemented in different regions and countries of the EU?

Valentina Bagozzi: In general, yes. There is a need to adjust practices to the economic context in which they will be applied, but in general the circulation of good ideas always leads to positive results.

SMEPlus: What are the most efficient energy measures implemented in your region?

Valentina Bagozzi: Italian companies can access incentives for energy efficiency measures in several ways. The framework of incentives is unfortunately fragmented, divided between state & regional measures, which are not always easy for companies to access and understand.

National measures

Those who intend to equip their company with a system of electricity production from renewable sources must refer to the so-called RES Decree 1, in force since July 2019, which provides incentives for four types of plants: newly built photovoltaic, "on shore" wind, hydroelectric and sewage gas. The 2021 tenders will open on 31 January, 31 May and 30 September.

Another incentive mechanism for those who carry out energy efficiency measures is that of white certificates, which are negotiable securities, each equivalent to a saving of one TOE (tonne of oil equivalent), assigned to companies by the Manager of the Electricity Market on the instructions of the GSE. White certificates can be traded and valued on an exchange platform and cannot be accumulated with other incentives, with the exception of local, regional or EU incentives, such as ERDF ROPs provided by the Regions.

An incentive for companies to improve their efficiency is also provided by the National Energy Efficiency Fund, managed by Invitalia. The application may concern interventions to reduce energy consumption in production processes, energy requalification of buildings as well as the creation of district heating networks and the efficiency of public services and infrastructure, including lighting.

Regional measures

It is also possible to access regional tenders, in many cases activated through synergies with European structural funds provided by the 2014/2020 ROP ERDF programme.

Lazio has set up subsidised financing channels or loans for micro-enterprises and SMEs that invest in energy efficiency or the production of energy from renewable sources, and has published a POR FESR call for tenders to promote and enhance the Ecologically Equipped Productive Areas (APEA) with the aim of supporting investments to reduce energy consumption, CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts of businesses.