The Italian energy system has historically been highly dependent on fossil fuel sources and extremely vulnerable to external energy shocks due to the dependency from energy imports. The Italian energy system is still based on a carbon intensive mix, with about 85% of energy demand fuelled by fossil fuels, basically oil and natural gas. Nonetheless, during last decades, several changes occurred in national energy policies, bringing the Italy system to a radical improvement in energy efficiency performance and to a growing interest in developing alternative energy sources. While traditional hydropower has constituted a large quota in the energy mix strategy from the beginning of the industrialization process after the Second World War, the increasing interest in new clean energy sources as wind and solar ones has emerged only during the last decade, due to fast liberalisation process of the electricity market at the European level and the increasing attention toward climate change issues. The main issues regarding energy in Italy are:
- The coordination across different policy domains, especially between the energy system and the industrial activities, is still far from being complete.
- The multi-level governance structure of the Italian system represents a strong barrier to the rapid transformation of central decisions regarding the energy system into operative actions across the national territory.
- There are selected sectors that are still lacking substantial policy interventions in the direction of a low carbon trajectory, where the most crucial one is the transport system.
- Cost reduction of energy supply by increasing domestic production (mainly by renewable energies) and by reducing import demand and final consumption (mainly by energy efficiency)
- Improvement on provision security
- Increase employment rate in the energy sector by fostering public and private investments both in traditional and green energy sectors
- Overall target of 17% of share of energy generated from renewable sources in gross final energy consumption by 2020
- Overall target of CO2 emission reduction by 80% with respect to 1990 by the year 2050
- The coordination across different policy domains, especially between the energy system and the industrial activities, is still far from being complete
- The multi-level governance structure of the Italian system represents a strong barrier to the rapid transformation of central decisions regarding the energy system into operative actions across the national territory
- There are selected sectors that are still lacking of substantial policy interventions in the direction of a low carbon trajectory, where the most crucial one is the transport system
- Investment shortage in clean energy in the form of technology-push policy instruments
Targets & Roadmaps
- 2020: National Energy Strategy adopted in 2013 (with a 2030 final horizon)
- 2050: Italian Energy scenarios and technological opportunities developed by the Italian Energy Agency (ENEA, 2014)
Main Discourses at Public level
- Public commitment to increase the share of renewable energy in electricity generation
- Increase efforts in the liberalization process of the energy market in order to reduce energy costs for final consumers
- Increase public-private partnerships to foster investment flows in the national electric grid in order to reduce barriers in the final distribution process and to ameliorate the absorption capacity of electricity generated by renewable sources
- Improve government and private consumers and firms awareness upon the necessity of a full cooperative approach in order to change consumption behaviour in the direction of a more efficient and greener energy system
Main Events as drivers
- 2000: Implementation of the liberalization process started at the EU level
- 2006: The natural gas crisis between Russia and Ukraine reveals the large import dependency and the consequent insecurity of energy provisions for Italy
- 2008: The entry into force of the second phase of the EU Emission Trading Scheme gives to CO2 emission abatement targets a public relevance, associated to worries for competitiveness losses
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