Italy considers EE, RES and Emission reduction as top priorities of the new Energy Strategy . Once the proposed strategy has been implemented, it will enable the system to evolve, gradually but significantly, and to surpass the 20-20-20 European targets. The results expected by 2020 (assuming economic growth to be in line with the latest European Commission forecasts) are as follows:
•The wholesale prices of all energy sources – electricity, gas and fuels – will be aligned with European price levels.
•Expenditure on energy imports will be reduced by about €14 billion/year (from the present €62 billion), and dependency on foreign supplies from 84% to 67%, thanks to energy efficiency, increased production from renewables, lower electricity imports and increased production from national resources.
•€180 billion will be invested between now and 2020 in the green and the white economies (renewables and energy efficiency) and in traditional sectors (electricity and gas networks, re-gasification plants, storage, hydrocarbon development). These will be private investments, partly supported by incentives, and are expected to generate positive economic returns for the country.
•Greenhouse gas emissions will fall by about 19%, exceeding the European targets for Italy, set at 18% below the 2005 emission levels.
•Renewable energy sources will account for 20% of gross final consumption (compared with about 10% in 2010). This is equivalent to 23% of primary energy consumption, while fossil fuel use will fall from 86% to 76%. Furthermore, it is expected that renewables will become the primary source in the electricity sector, equivalent to, or slightly overtaking, gas, to account for about 36-38% of consumption (compared with 23% in 2010).
•Primary consumption will fall by about 24% by 2020 compared with the reference scenario (an estimated 4% below 2010 levels); this exceeds the European objectives of -20%, thanks mainly to energy efficiency measures.
These results will come with benefits in terms of economic growth and employment, whose overall impact is however difficult to quantify. These gains will be produced, primarily, by increased competitiveness in the most electricity- and gas-intensive sectors; savings of resources currently used to import fuels; substantial investments in the energy sector and in the associated supply industries; and a revitalisation of research and innovation in the sector.
As regards the long and very-long term (2030-2050), Italy subscribes to the spirit of the European Roadmap 2050 for a low-carbon economy, which aims to reduce emissions by up to 80%. Recent decades have shown us, however, that it is difficult to predict developments in technology and the markets, especially in the long term. Italy therefore intends to adopt a flexible and efficient long-term strategy to pursue its key low-carbon policy. In this, it will focus on and exploit – especially through research and technological development – any factors that could produce significant changes (for example, a more rapid cost reduction in renewable and storage technologies, in biofuels, or in CO2 capture and storage).