Renewable energy in Italy
Renewable energy primary consumption in Italy was 11.2 Mtoe of hydroelectricity:36 and 5.6 Mtoe (or 3.5% of world total) of other renewables in 2010, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2011.:38 This was an increase of 22% over the previous year for renewables other than hydro.
The urge to produce exclusively green energy in Italy came from the need to reduce the country's historical heavy dependence on fossil fuels and supply flows of hydrocarbons coming from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and to comply with the binding international agreements of the Kyoto Protocol (signed in 1997 and implemented in 2005).
During the twentieth century, Italy was at the forefront of technological development and the production of energy from renewable sources. In the field of geothermal energy, the first plant dates back to 1904, at Larderello in Tuscany, where in 1913 the first geothermal power plant was also built, and remained the only one in the world until 1958. With regards to hydropower, the first plant in Europe was built in Paderno d'Adda in Lombardy between 1895 and 1898. In the solar energy industry, the first power plant (that could produce steam at 450 °C) was built in Genoa in 1963, and in 1980 the first solar power tower that uses mirrors was built at Adrano in Sicily. As for the production of wind power, the first experimental projects (sponsored by the National Research Council and in collaboration with Enel) were started in the second half of the seventies as part of the restructuring of the entire system of production and supply of energy that followed the 1973 and 1979 energy crisis.
During the eighties and the nineties renewable energy projects drew new life from three co-occurring factors: the rapid price increase of crude oil (caused by the tension and armed conflicts in the Middle East and Persian Gulf); a new public awareness of environmentalism (fuelled by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986); and the interruption of all construction of nuclear power plants in Italy and the ban on Enel on the participating in the construction or management of nuclear power plants beyond national borders (following the referendum of 1987).
Renewable electricity accounted for the 24.5% of all electric energy produced in Italy in 2011. This percentage is growing rapidly and reached 38.5% in 2013, when a spike in hydroelectric production contributed with more than 9 TWh. During the first quarter of 2014, renewables already generated 39,8% of all electric energy produced, and 49,1% during April.
Italy is experiencing a surge in renewable energy investments and production in latest years, especially in wind and solar energy. Total electricity produced from solar PV quintupled in 2011 compared to the previous year. This was mainly due to a drop in costs and to high incentives introduced since 2005. The Italian fossil fuel electricity generation sector is undergoing a profound crisis. Many Italian power plants burning fossil fuels are now running at half capacity and others are in the process of being shut down.
There is considerable academic and commercial interest internationally in a new form of CSP, called STEM, for off-grid applications to produce 24 hour industrial scale power for mining sites and remote communities in Italy, other parts of Europe, Australia, Asia, North Africa and Latin America. STEM uses fluidized silica sand as a thermal storage and heat transfer medium for CSP systems. It has been developed by Salerno based Magaldi Industries. The first commercial application of STEM will take place in Sicily from 2015.
Current targets and progress
Italy has a 17 percent target in its total energy use set by the European Union for 2020. Italy may have to import renewable energy to meet these targets.
Italy has planned to subsidize electric cars. Transport accounts for a large amount of fossil fuel use so a quick transition to sustainable transport such as electric cars and trams will be a key element of transition to renewable energy use.
The Italian National Renewable Energy Action Plan has a target to reach the total share of renewable energies to 26%. 39% in the electricity sector, 17,09% in the heating/cooling sector and 14% in the transport sector by 2020.
On June 16, 2013, renewables covered 100% of the entire Italian electricity demand for 2 hours.
- "BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2011" (PDF). BP. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- The figure is based on gross generation from hydroelectric plants, converted on the basis of thermal equivalence assuming 38% conversion efficiency.
- The figure is based on gross generation from renewable sources including wind, geothermal, solar, biomass and waste produced in the country, converted on the basis of thermal equivalence assuming 38% conversion efficiency.
- Petri, Rolf (1997). "Dalla ricostruzione al miracolo economico". Storia d'Italia. La Repubblica 1943-1963, Vol. V (a cura di Giovanni Sabbatucci e Vittorio Vidotto) (Rome-Bari: Laterza): 313 and 352.
- Lungonelli, Michele (1993). "Sviluppi tecnologici e applicazioni produttive". Storia dell'industria elettrica in Italia. Il potenziamento tecnico e finanziario 1914-1925, Vol. II (a cura di Luigi De Rosa) (Roma-Bari: Laterza): 517–25.
- Giannetti, Renato (1985). "La conquista della forza. Risorse, tecnologia ed economia nell'industria elettrica italiana (1883-1940)". Milan: Franco Angeli. pp. 71–76.
- Paoloni, Giovanni; Martelli, Margherita (2010). "Storia dell'Energia Verde". Naples: Archivio storico Enel. p. 8.
- Lanzavecchia, Giuseppe (1994). "Progresso tecnico e innovazione". Storia dell'energia elettrica in Italia. Gli sviluppi dell'Enel 1963-1990, Vol. 5 (a cura di Giovanni Zanetti) (Rome-Bari: Laterza): 548–49.
- Diani, Mario (1988). "Isole nell'arcipelago. Il movimento ecologista in Italia". Bologna: il Mulino.
- "Rapporto Statistico 2011" (PDF). Statistiche sulle fonti rinnovabili (in Italian). Gestore Servizi Energetici (GSE). Retrieved 28 March 2012.
- See also (in Italian): Conto energia.
- CSP Today, April 11, 2014 "Italian project shows strong potential for sand based CSP
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- Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE) (Italian)