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Italy’s government unveiled on Friday a new national energy strategy aiming to phase out coal in electricity generation by 2025, and significantly boost the share of renewables in total energy and electricity consumption.
In the framework document drafted by the ministries of economic development and environment, Italy plans to have 28 percent of its total energy consumption covered by renewable energy sources by 2030, compared to 17.5 percent in 2015. The target for renewables in electricity generation is to achieve a share of 55 percent by 2030, up from 33.5 percent in 2015. In the transportation sector, Italy targets renewables at a 21-percent share by 2030, versus 6.4 percent in 2015.
The country is also doubling research and development investments in clean energy to US$517 million (444 million euro) in 2021 from US$258 million (222 million euro) in 2013.
Alongside a big push for renewables, Italy—Europe’s fourth-largest energy consumer that is heavily dependent on imports to meet about 93 percent of its oil and natural gas needs--also aims to diversify its natural gas supply sources and reduce the gap between the natural gas price in Italy and the price in northern Europe, which was some US$2.328 (2 euro) per MWh in 2016.
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Natural gas will continue to play a crucial role in Italy’s energy, the strategy says, because it’s a back-up resource for the renewables. Therefore, the country will work to promote the construction of new gas import pipelines that would diversify sources and routes of supply, and will award liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity via tenders instead of at fixed tariffs, to make the use of LNG terminals in Italy more attractive.
Italy is joining the UK that announced in November 2015 its intention to consult on proposals to end unabated coal generation by 2025. Following the end of the consultation period, the UK government confirmed last month that it would proceed with action to regulate the closure of unabated coal power generation units in Great Britain by 2025.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.