Non-hydro renewable energies to replace thermal as the dominant power source in Italy in 2030, says GlobalData

Italy derived most of its electricity from thermal power in 2017, contributing with a 50.7% of its installed capacity, and with natural gas alone accounting for 41%, according to GlobalData. The company’s latest report ‘Italy Power Market Outlook to 2030, Update 2018 – Market Trends, Regulations, and Competitive Landscape’ reveals that, government policy is oriented towards scrapping coal based capacity between 2025 and 2030, while renewable energy auctions, to be started by 2020, will help to compensate for this loss.

Renewable power is Italy’s fastest-growing energy source, owing to the 2011 referendum that closed any option for the government to restart nuclear power generation and a rising need to ensure energy security. Solar PV and wind power are the leading renewable sources.

Installed non-hydro renewable capacity increased from 1.7 GW in 2000 to 34.5 GW in 2017. Italy recorded notable progress with respect to the development of installed solar capacity, which grew from 19 MW in 2000 to around 19.7 GW in 2017. The onshore wind market also grew exponentially, from 364 MW to 9.8 GW, owing to strong policy support from the government in the form of FiTs. From 2018 to 2030, renewable installed capacity is expected to grow to 63.4 GW in 2030.

Continuous modifications to the support schemes deter long-term investment planning and hinder access to financing and unclear taxation rules are also a significant barrier, especially for biofuels.

GlobalData’s report also finds that gas and oil-based capacities are expected to remain stable in the country with some of its oil-based capacity expected to be converted to gas. Coal based capacity is expected to cease beyond 2024 due to the decommissioning of the existing coal based power plants.

Installed thermal capacity grew from 53.5 GW in 2000 to 58.8 GW in 2017 at a CAGR of 0.6%. Thermal capacity accounted for 50.7% of installed capacity in 2017, of which gas contributed 41%, while coal and oil contributed respective shares of 7.5% and 2.2%. From 2018 to 2030, installed thermal capacity is expected to decrease to 51.1 GW, at a negative CAGR of 1.1%.

Italy imports more than 90% of its coal requirement from South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Colombia, and the US. It possesses small deposits of coal reserves, most of which are in South Sardinia. It also imports gas, primarily from Algeria and Russia. Although it possesses economically accessible gas reserves, a declining trend in gas production has been observed since the mid-1990s, caused by national energy policies formulated by the government that do not support gas production. However, the government is increasing the share of renewable energy sources over concerns over energy security.

Thermal power’s share is expected to be overshadowed by non-hydro renewable power, with its share in installed capacity declining to 36.9%. The share of non-hydro renewable capacity is expected to increase to 45.8% by 2030.

Source: GlobalData