Comprehensive overview of the production of electricity in Italy: primary energy sources used

Percentage changes of non-renewable energy sources in Italy. Processing from data published by Terna

The Italian non-renewable production is made exclusively from the production of energy through the combustion of fossil fuels in power plants (less than production of less significant amount of energy through the combustion of biomass). This rate is 77.4% of the total national production, 70.7% of electricity demand and to 67.1% of the national gross].

According to statistics from Terna, the company that since 2005 operates the national transmission grid, most of the Italian power plants are fueled by natural gas (65.1% of total power generation in 2009), coal (17.6%) and derivatives oil (7.1%). Smaller percentage (about 1.6%) refer to gas derivatives (gas steel plant, blast furnace, coke oven, diraffineria) and a generic basket of "other fuels" solids (about 8, 6%) in which they are including different fuel sources, "minor", both fossil and renewable (biomass, waste, petroleum coke, Orimulsion, bitumen and others).

It is noteworthy that the percentages for the three main fuels have changed radically in a few years (1994-2007), in 1994 alone, natural gas, coal and oil "weighed" respectively 22%, 11% and 64%. It can be seen next to a discrete increase in the use of coal, there has been a dramatic turnaround in the relative importance of oil and natural gas, the use of which has grown strongly in both absolute and percentage terms. Today most of the thermal power plants are designed in a manner to be able to use more fuel, so as to be able to vary in a relatively short time the fuel source (although in recent years many combined cycles can not accept coal or oil or other fuels other than gas).

This policy has resulted from considerations about the cost, price volatility and the origin of oil from politically unstable regions, Italy does not in fact substantial reserves of fossil fuels and therefore almost all of the raw material used is imported from abroad . It should also not be overlooked the lowest environmental impact of gas than oil, especially in light of the dictates delProtocollo of Kyoto.

Currently Italy is listed as the fourth largest importer of natural gas, coming mainly from Russia and Algeria, with smaller quotas from Libya, the Netherlands and Norway, to further develop Greenstream pipeline is expected in the future to further increase the share of gas imported from Libya.

Despite this, in 2007 Italy was still ranked as the European country most dependent on oil for the production of electricity, it is also the seventh largest importer of oil and the ninth largest importer of coal.


Renewable energy

Variations of renewable energy sources in Italy. Processing of data published by GSE and Terna

The majority of electricity produced from renewable sources in Italy comes from renewable sources so-called "classic". The hydroelectric power plants (mainly located in the Alps and Apennines in some areas) produce 15.8% of the gross energy consumption, the geothermal power plants (mainly in Tuscany) produce the 1, 6% of the electrical power while the "new" renewable sources such as wind (wind farms with distributed mainly in Sardinia, Sicily and southern Apennines), although growing, still produce only 1, 9% of the electric power required. Percentage even lower (although with strong growth accruals) are produced by solar systems or network connected blocks (about 676.5 GWh in 2009, representing approximately 0.2% of the total, considering the contribution of the plants in Energy Account). It should be noted, however, that, as regards the "wind power" installed, Italy, with 4850 MW, it ranks third in Europe (after Germany and Spain) and sixth in the world, while for photovoltaics, with 1,142 MW of cumulative power, Italy is still third in Europe (always behind Germany and Spain) and fifth in the world.

Finally, in recent years has increased the share of electricity generated in power plants or incinerators by biomass burning, industrial or urban waste. This source (usually included in the calculation of the overall "power plants") has grown from a production almost nothing in 1992 to over share geothermal in 2008, reaching up to 2.38% of the electricity demand in 2009. About 40% of this rate is due to energy obtained from the so-called "RSU" biodegradable, while the remainder relates to other refuse and waste biomass or organic in nature anyway.

In conclusion, considering all the contributions, the share of "renewable" Italian reaches up to 22.5% of the national total, 20.6% of electricity demand and to 19.5% of the national GDP. In European Conference of Berlin (2004), the EU has set its objectives with regard to renewable sources. The result to be achieved is to cover with these sources, by 2020, 20 per cent of total energy consumption.


Foreign trade

Despite the Italian central park is able to cover domestic demand, in 2008 Italy was the second country in the world for net import of electricity (after Brazil and followed by the USA). Italy imports a quantity of electrical power media that, during the year, can have a daily maximum of less than 4000 megawatts (night phase) up to a maximum of over 7500 megawatts (light phase), with a net capacity transmissible who its minimum (3800 MW) in the month of August in the night phase and a maximum of 8000 MW under winter day, for a total of about 40,000 GWh net per year.

It should however be mentioned that the same ENEL is in some cases also co-owner of several production plants overseas, and this electricity is therefore in these cases, even though ENEL produced outside the national borders.

The import is not always proportional to the request: the Italian energy requirement is supported by the current produced abroad for a rate that can range from less than 10% in the daytime highs of up to 25% during the night. Such importation is done by almost all the neighboring countries, even if the odds are greater that coming from Switzerland, followed by France (it should be noted, however, that Switzerland is also conveyed through the French part of the energy requested by Italy view failure of power lines direct) Whereas, therefore, these two countries together, from France and Switzerland together accounted for almost 80% of the entire Italian import of electricity.

Part of this energy (in particular, almost 40% of the "Swiss" and 87% of that "French") is produced by nuclear power plants. The Italian Energy Services Operator publishes each year an estimate of the origin of the energy actually fed into the Italian electricity system as including foreign trade, in 2009 the nuclear import entirety, accounted for the 1, 5 % of the total.

In fact, the import Night percentage is much more important than the day just because of the nature of electricity generation with nuclear power plants, and these in fact have limited possibilities to modulate the power produced in the economy and therefore the energy produced during the night (when supply exceeds demand) has low-cost market. This allows you to stop in Italy during the night less efficient power plants and hydroelectric power plants in the basin and turn on the water pumping stations which can then "release" energy during the day again. This mechanism has made it cost-effective import energy from abroad, from which the great development of energy trading in recent years.

From the data published by Terna on the year 2009 is obtained, finally, that the imported electricity has increased compared to 2008 (approximately 12.3% more), compared to a decrease in domestic production, in particular with regard to the thermal generation.



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