Italy Ramps-Up Renewables As Russia Stops Natural Gas Exports

National Economy

The population of the Italian Republic (Italy) is approximately 60.27 million people[1]. In 2021, 100% of the people in this South European country had access to electricity[2].

In 2021, Italy’s economy was ranked 9th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export[4] of packaged medicaments, cars, vehicle parts, refined petroleum, vaccines,  ceramics, pasta, processed tomatoes, tanned animal hides, and processed tobacco.

Environment Policies

In 2009, Italy as a member of the European Union (EU) committed to the Renewable Energy Directive,” which requires each country to use renewable energy for 20% of its total energy needs by 2020 and 27% by 2030.

In 2016, Italy as a member of the EU signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5]. The EU committed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

In 2021, utilities used natural gas (51.6 %), renewable energy (40.4 %), coal (5.1 %) and oil (2.9 %) to generate electricity in Italy[6]. Hydropower, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal are the types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Italy.

Recent renewable energy projects in Italy include:

  • 450 MW Offshore Wind Project – In April 2022, Italian engineer company, Saipem commissioned the Taranto offshore wind project off the northeast coast of Italy in the Adriatic Sea.
  • 9 MW Onshore Wind Project – In March 2022, the Italian government approved the construction of the Montaratro wind project at a site approximately 150 miles southeast of the nation’s capital, Rome.
  • 5 MW Onshore Wind Project – In March 2022, the Italian government approved the construction of the Nulvi Ploaghe wind project expansion on the island of Sardinia.
  • 100 MW Offshore Solar Project – Saipem is continuing work on a floating solar project, which will be located off the northeast coast of Italy in the Adriatic Sea. The project is forecast to be commissioned by 2025.
  • 5 MW Onshore Wind Project – In March 2022, the Italian government approved the construction of a wind project at a site approximately 175 miles southeast of Rome.
  • 2 MW Onshore Wind Project – In March 2022, the Italian government approved the construction of a wind project at a site approximately 125 miles southeast of Rome.
  • 39.6 MW Onshore Wind Project – In March 2022, the Italian government approved the construction of a wind project at a site approximately 120 miles southeast of Rome.
  • 4 MW Onshore Wind Project – In April 2021, Italian energy company, Enel commissioned the Partanna Wind project on the island of Sicily.
  • 20 MW Energy Storage Project – In June 2022, Italian energy storage company, Energy Dome commissioned a carbon dioxide (CO2) battery facility at a site on the island of
  • 14 MW Floating Solar Project – Italian energy company, Eni is continuing work on the Brindisi floating solar project in a water reservoir in southern Italy. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – Italian renewable energy company, Tages Group is continuing work to build a solar project on the island of Sicily. The project is scheduled to be commissioned in 2024.

In 1995, electric utilities began to increase the use of natural gas[7], while reducing the use of oil to fuel power plants. Italian utilities made this decision because imported natural gas was significantly cheaper than imported oil.

In 2015, electric utilities began to increase the use of natural gas, while reducing the use of coal to fuel power plants. Italian utilities made this decision because coal generates 40% to 45% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.

Italy imports the majority of the nation’s fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) for power generation, heating, and transportation. In 2020, Italy imported[8] U.S. $4.08 Billion in natural gas, U.S. $3.74 Billion in crude oil, and U.S. $1.43 Billion in refined petroleum from Russia.

In 2021, Italy used fossil fuels to generate 59.6 % of the nation’s electricity. In 2021, Italy imported approximately 40% of its natural gas[9] and 13% of its oil[10] from Russia.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, resulting in the United States, Canada, and the European Union placing embargos on Russian exports. The international price for crude oil has increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

On June 17, 2022, Russian energy company, Gazprom halted natural gas exports to Italy[11] due to “technical problems.”

Italy has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass.

Italy is now ramping-up renewable development, as Russia stops Russian natural gas exports prior to winter.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

 Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.

 

[1] Italy Population (2022) – September 16, 2022, www.worldometers.info

[2] The World Bank Group, Access to Electricity (% of Population – Italy)

[3] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2021 – Worldometer

[4] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Italy

[5] Carbon Brief – “2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[6] Our World In Data, Italy:  Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[7] Our World In Data, Italy:  Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[8] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Italy/Russia Trade

[9] “How much oil does the European Union import from Russia?” by Reuters, August 9, 2022

[10] “Italy Looks To Demote Russia And Make Algeria Its Top Gas Supplier” by G. Leali & H. Roberts, April 11, 2022

[11] AP, “Russia Again Cuts Natural Gas Exports To European Countries” by Karel Janicek, June 17, 2022

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