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The Photovoltaic Giant: Lights and Shadows of Energy Planning in Apulia

16 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2015 Last revised: 13 Apr 2015

Edoardo Altavilla

Gran Sasso Science Institute

Date Written: April 9, 2015


Climate change and transition towards sustainability represent global challenges. The urgency of abandoning traditional fossil fuels, on one hand, and the progressive devolution in the European context of energy legislative powers to subnational polities, on the other hand, make the regional energy planning process a subject worth studying. Energy planning is one of the most important tools for addressing climate change-related issues on both small and large scales, and it particularly tests the ability to decide of local governances. Under a newly established political class, in 2007, the Italian region of Apulia provided itself with an energy plan that attracted much attention nationally, for both its ambitious objectives and the inclusive decisional process put in place before and after its approval. This paper aims to assess suspected inconsistencies in this decision-making process and to verify two selected plan objectives. The methodology chosen for this study includes a mostly quantitative collection of statistical data and an analysis of policies and strategy documents. The findings show that 1) during the decision-making there had been a lack of rationality in translating the advice of the actors’ network into plan objectives; 2) the micro-generation of photovoltaic power was an unmet objective; and 3) the enhanced share of photovoltaic power over the total regional electricity generation in 2013 had been widely over-achieved and produced one major consequence – the extensive coverage of mainly agricultural, regional land.

Keywords: Apulia, sustainability transition, energy planning, photovoltaic, decision-making.

JEL Classification: R10

Suggested Citation

Altavilla, Edoardo, The Photovoltaic Giant: Lights and Shadows of Energy Planning in Apulia (April 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Edoardo Altavilla (Contact Author)

Gran Sasso Science Institute ( email )

viale Francesco Crispi, 7
L'Aquila, 67100

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