In 2022, Italy’s economy was ranked 10th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on the export of packaged medicaments, cars, refined petroleum, motor vehicle parts, vaccines, and unglazed ceramics.
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. The EU committed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
Power Generation Capabilities
In 2021, 100% of the people in Italy had access to electricity. In 2022, utilities used natural gas (50.7 %), renewable energy (36.4 %), coal (7.6 %) and oil (5.3 %) to generate electricity in Italy. Hydropower, solar, wind, and biomass are the primary 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.
- 250 MW Solar Project –Danish power company, European Energy has announced plans to build a solar project on the Island of Sicily.
- 200 MW Energy Storage Project – In June 2023, United Kingdom company Aura Power announced plans to build a battery energy storage system (BESS) at a site approximately 125 miles southeast of Rome. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2026.
- 170 MW Agrivoltaics Project – Italian company, Enel is continuing work on an agrivoltaics plant which is designed to allow crops to grow between the photovoltaic solar panels. The project is located at a site approximately 50 miles northwest of the nation’s capital, Rome.
- 122 MW Onshore Wind Project –Enel is continuing work on the Montaratro wind project at a site approximately 150 miles southeast of Rome. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2025.
- 122 MW Onshore Wind Project – American company, ERG Group is continuing work on 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.
- 58 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.
- 43 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.
- 40 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.
- 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 Onshore Wind Project – In April 2021, Italian energy company, Enel commissioned the Partanna wind project on the island of Sicily.
- 14 MW Floating Solar Project – In December 2022, Italian energy company, Eni commissioned the Brindisi floating solar project in a water reservoir in southern Italy.
- 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, Italy’s utilities began to increase the use of natural gas, while decreasing the use of refined petroleum to fuel power plants across the nation. The utilities’ decision was driven by economics, as imported natural gas was significantly cheaper than refined petroleum.
In 2015, Italian utilities began to further increase the use of natural gas, while decreasing the use of coal to fuel power plants. The utilities’ decision was based on greenhouse gas emission, as coal generates 40% to 45% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.
Italy imports coal, oil and natural gas for power generation, heating, and transportation. In 2021, Italy imported U.S. $31 Billion of crude oil, U.S. $30.5 Billion of natural gas, and U.S. $7.44 Billion of electricity. In 2021, Italy imported approximately 40% of the nation’s natural gas from Russia.
On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to place economic sanctions on Russian imports and exports. As a result, the crude oil and natural gas prices increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.
Italy has taken swift action to cut Russian natural gas imports, including fast-tracking the development of renewable energy projects and increasing imports of liquified natural gas from the United States. Renewable energy development is booming in Italy, as the nation turns off the flow of Russian natural gas.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
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, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a diverse range of energy issues.