Italy Plans to Phase Out All Coal Plants by 2025

Italy Plans to Phase Out All Coal Plants by 2025Italy Plans to Phase Out All Coal Plants by 2025

Italy called on Friday for coal power plants across the country to be phased out by 2025 and for renewable energy to play a greater role as it moves to reduce its carbon footprint.

In a framework energy document, Rome said the aim was for green energy sources to account for 28% of overall energy consumption by 2030 from 17.5% in 2015, Reuters reported.

In particular, it said it wanted renewables to make up 21% of energy consumption in the transportation sector compared to 6.4% in 2015. But gas would continue to have a key role in Italy’s energy strategy, the document said. Italy, which imports about 90% of its gas needs, generates about 43% of its power from gas.

In slides on its new strategy, the government said it wanted to promote new gas import pipelines to diversify supply while liquefied natural gas capacity would be awarded by auction and not on a fixed tariff basis.

On Thursday, the head of Italy’s biggest utility Enel said the strategy needed to give a greater role to green energy to wean the country off reliance on gas.

“The strategy looks tilted toward gas rather than renewables. It’s probably a lack of vision or a conservative idea that a country should have at least one fossil fuel alternative for the future,” Enel CEO Francesco Starace told Reuters.

Starace, a nuclear engineer by training, believes a bigger role should be given to renewable energy.

Last week, Enel and other top utilities called the European Union’s green energy targets "unambitious", urging the bar to be raised in the fight against climate change.

State-controlled Enel, which owns a majority stake in Spanish utility Endesa, is one of Europe’s top renewable energy players and is focusing on green energy and grids to offset the crisis in traditional power generation.

"Phasing out coal by 2025 is doable providing you rush, take quick decisions and get all the permits in time but it’s very uneconomical and dangerous and must be done responsibly,” he said.

Renewable energy is by nature intermittent and gas or coal-fired plants are needed to feed the grid when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow.


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