ROME, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Italy has formally backed a plan to allow farmers to sell renewable energy to European power grids, following talks on Tuesday between Italian Agricultural Minister Stefano Patuanelli and European Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski.
The plan would give European farmers who install solar panels a new source of income. It would also help reduce demand for other types of energy, including natural gas, which has seen prices surge in the wake of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
In March, a month into the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Patuanelli signed a decree providing 1.5 billion euros (1.6 billion U.S. dollars) in funding for such renewable energy projects in eight regions in southern Italy. The cash is part of more than 200 billion euros (210 billion dollars) in European Union funding granted to Italy last year to help the country recover from the pandemic.
Before the decree, Italian farmers were allowed to produce solar energy for their own use, but were not allowed to feed excess energy into the power grid.
According to Patuanelli's office, the initiative will be included in the developing European Union (EU)'s "Common Agricultural Policy" plan, that will be debated starting in July. It would therefore enter into force in January 2023. (1 euro=1.07 U.S. dollars)