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Electricity in Italy in 2023

Global Ranking: #50
36.6% #90 Low-carbon electricity
43.38 % #61 Electrification
604.88 watts #63 Generation / person
343.49 gCO2eq/kWh #81 Carbon Intensity

As of 2023, Italy’s electricity consumption is characterized by a substantial reliance on fossil fuels, which account for almost half (47%) of its electricity generation. This includes 38% from gas and 4% from coal. In contrast, low-carbon or clean energy sources make up roughly 37% of the electricity mix, with significant contributions from solar (10%), wind (7%), and hydropower (12%). Biofuels and geothermal together add another 7%. Additionally, Italy imports about 16% of its electricity. This diverse energy mix indicates that while Italy has made strides in integrating clean energy into its electricity consumption, it still depends significantly on fossil fuels, contributing to climate change and air pollution.

Suggestions

To enhance low-carbon electricity generation, Italy can look to successful examples from other countries. Countries like France, Slovakia, and Ukraine derive a majority of their electricity from nuclear energy, with percentages like 65%, 62%, and 55% respectively. These countries demonstrate the potential of nuclear power as a reliable and substantial provider of low-carbon electricity. Additionally, Denmark and Uruguay provide excellent examples of integrating wind energy into the grid, generating 53% and 35% of their electricity from wind respectively. Italy could benefit from expanding its investment in both nuclear and wind energies, thereby reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and minimizing its carbon footprint.

History

The history of low-carbon electricity generation in Italy is marked by variability, particularly in hydropower output, which has experienced significant fluctuations over the decades. For instance, the late 1970s and early 1980s saw both rises and falls, with notable increases in 1977 (+12 TWh) and significant declines at other times, such as 1978 (-5.6 TWh) and 1989 (-6.6 TWh). The early 1990s saw another spike in hydro generation in 1991 (+10.5 TWh). The period since 2000 has also seen varied hydropower contributions with major decreases, such as in 2002 (-6.7 TWh), and significant increases, like in 2008 (+8.7 TWh) and 2018 (+12.5 TWh). A critical moment in Italy's energy history was the drastic reduction in nuclear power in 1987 (-8.6 TWh), which significantly hindered the development of nuclear energy. This historical context highlights the need for a stable, well-planned expansion of low-carbon energy sources like nuclear and wind to ensure a consistent and sustainable electricity supply.

Electricity Imports and Exports

Balance of Trade

Maximum Imports

Data Sources

For the years 1971 to 1984 the data sources are World Bank and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1985 to 1989 the data sources are Energy Institute and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1990 to 2019 the data source is IEA.
For the years 2020 to 2023 the data source is Ember.
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