Southern Italy could become a new energy hub under the European Union’s recovery plan thanks to its cheap solar power and potential for hydrogen production, Snam SpA Chief Executive Officer Marco Alvera said at a Bloomberg event on Tuesday.

The region could be among the areas with “the cheapest energy in Europe,” Alvera said, adding that infrastructure linking it to Africa could also help southern Italy “become a big hub to import energy into Europe.”

Italy’s south also offers scope for energy transformation driven by new technology rather than subsidies, Alvera said. “We can get hydrogen made from solar to be competitive with fossil fuels in five years’ time in some applications,” the executive said. “So we will only need subsidies for a short period.”

Emma Marcegaglia, a former chairman of energy group Eni SpA who’s chairing this year’s B20 International Business Summit, said at the event that timing is key for reforms under the auspices of the EU program.

“It’s the right time” for Italy to enact reforms linked to the recovery plan, Marcegaglia said. If Italy can spend the money with “good execution accompanied with good reforms, the funds will be more than enough.”

Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s 260 billion-euro ($319 billion) plan to salvage the economy using EU financing will allocate some 40% of Italy’s share of the funds to green programs and 25% to digital plans. Top priority areas include infrastructure projects like expanding the nation’s high-speed rail network.