Natural resources and energy
Italy is hurting natural resources. Although
oil is extracted in southern Italy and natural gas in
Podalen in the north, it only covers a small part of the
need. Other products include copper, feldspar, pumice,
salt, gypsum, clay and substances used to make cement.
Italy also has its famous marble in Carrara.
Imported oil and gas account for most of the energy
consumption. Electricity still comes mainly from oil or
gas-powered power plants, but Italy also imports
electricity, especially from France.
Major exports by Italy with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Renewable energy production has risen sharply in
recent years. With its many solar hours, Italy has in a
short time developed into one of the world's leading
producers of solar energy. Large power plants are
Montalto di Castro on the coast northwest of Rome and
off Syracuse in Sicily. The power plant in Sicily is the
first in the world to use molten salt to store the heat.
The power plant has been named after the Greek scientist
Arkimedes, who is said to have used solar power in
Syracuse over two thousand years ago.
Italy has nearly 500 wind turbines, some with over a
hundred power plants each. Most are located in Sicily,
Sardinia and the southern part of the mainland.
Renewable energy now accounts for almost one fifth of
energy production. Almost half of the green energy comes
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, IT stands for Italy. Visit itypeusa for more information about Italy.
Following a 1987 referendum, Italy decided to shut
down its nuclear power and in 1990 the last two reactors
were closed. In 2008, the government declared that the
country would again invest in nuclear power and build
new reactors. Those plans were slowed down in the spring
of 2011 after the reactor accidents in Japan. In June of
that year, in a referendum, the Italians said no to
reintroducing nuclear power.
The government has reduced ownership in the former
state-owned companies ENEL (electricity) and ENI (oil
and gas), as a result of the EU's decision to liberalize
the monopoly in these areas.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
2,482 kilograms of oil equivalent (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
5002 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
320 411 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
5.3 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
16.5 percent (2015)
Suspected truck killer killed
Milan police shoot down Tunisian Anis Amri who is suspected of driving the
truck that hit and killed 12 people at the Christmas market in Berlin a few days
earlier. Two police officers notice Amri on the outskirts of Milan during the
small hours and stop him for an ID check whereby an exchange of fire breaks out.
One of the police officers is injured.
New capital for banks
The government approves a rescue plan for the country's banking system, which
is drawn with large debts and bad loans. An aid fund of EUR 20 billion will be
created for this purpose. First in line to get help is the country's third
largest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which in vain tried to attract new
capital through private investors. The European Commission approves plans to
provide Monte dei Paschi di Siena with new capital equivalent to almost EUR 9
Paolo Gentiloni asked to become prime minister.
Gentiloni was foreign minister in the Renzi government. He will appoint a
government, which will then be approved by Parliament on December 14.
Renzi leaves after a setback in a referendum
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announces his resignation. The voters then voted
against the reform proposed by the government with the aim of reducing the size
and power of the Senate (see Political system). When almost all votes are
counted, the no-side has won big by 60 against 40 percent. The turnout is 70
Record number of refugees 2016
According to the Interior Minister, until November, over 171,000 migrants
arrived from North Africa to Italy, which is more than the record year 2014 when
the country received 170,100 migrants.
Over 6,000 migrants are rescued
In a single day, the Italian coastguard rescues over 6,000 refugees in the
Mediterranean Sea. So far in 2016, over 130,000 migrants have come by boat
across the Mediterranean to Italy.
Date is nailed for referendum
Prime Minister Renzi receives government support to hold the referendum on
constitutional reform on December 4.
Thousands of migrants rescued
According to the Italian Coast Guard, around 10,000 people have been rescued
in a large number of individual operations in the Mediterranean over the past
An earthquake hits central Italy and leads to the destruction of some
mountain villages. The following day, the number of dead has reached 247. Later,
the numbers of the dead have increased to nearly 300.
Renzi takes back the promise to resign
Prime Minister Renzi had previously promised to resign if the Senate reform
was not approved in the planned referendum, but now says it was a mistake. By
linking his own future with the referendum, the vote would be too much about
himself and party politics, Renzi says. Now he promises instead that general
elections 2018 will be held, regardless of the result in the referendum.
Court gives clear sign to referendum
The Supreme Court approves the more than 500,000 signatures that have been
gathered to hold a referendum on the planned reform of the Senate (see
Same-sex partnerships legal
A law on same-sex partnerships comes into force after the proposal has been
approved by both chambers of Parliament. The law has been criticized for being
watered down when a section has been deleted that would give people living in
same-sex partnerships the right to adopt their partner's children.
Thousands of migrants are rescued
More than 4,500 refugees are rescued on the Mediterranean by the Italian
coastguard in a single day. There are 30 different interventions in the waters
A "half place" in the UN
Italy and the Netherlands agree to share a seat on the Security Council in
2017 and 2018. Despite five votes in the General Assembly, none of the countries
even managed to get close to the number of votes needed to win a seat
(two-thirds of 193 votes). According to the agreement, Italy takes the place in
2017 and the Netherlands 2018. The second place that was at stake in the Western
European group went to Sweden.
Five-star movement ahead in local elections
The Five Star Movement (M5S) wins the important mayoral elections in Rome and
Turin. Party candidates win in additional cities. The elections are seen as a
setback for Renzi. His Democratic Party, however, takes home the victory in
Milan and Bologna.
The European Commission approves the budget for 2016
After lengthy negotiations with the EU Commission on government debt and
budget deficits, the government is given a green light for a slightly higher
budget deficit in 2016 than previously decided. The reason for this respite is
the government's efforts to implement economic reforms and higher costs in
connection with the ongoing migrant crisis. At the same time, the European
Commission is placing higher demands on Italy to limit the budget deficit in
The referendum on oil and gas fails
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's call for voters to stay at home and not vote in
a referendum results. Only 32 percent choose to participate, which means that
the referendum will not be valid as it does not reach up to 50 percent of
voters. The referendum was about a new law on oil drilling near the coast would
be withdrawn, which environmental activists demanded based on environmental and
The lower house approves Senate reform
Parliament's lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, votes for the second time
on Renzi's planned reform of the Senate (see January 2014). All
opposition members leave the room at the time of the vote. The proposal has
previously been approved by the Senate but must also be submitted to a
referendum in order to be implemented.
Italy's ambassador to Egypt is called home
The lack of results and dissatisfaction with the handling of the
investigation into the murder of an Italian student in Cairo is causing tensions
between the countries. The Italian ambassador is sent home for consultations.
Minister jumps off
The Minister of Economic Development, Federica Guidi, resigns. She is accused
of refusing to try to influence the legislation in such a way that it would have
benefited her partner who has a company in the energy industry.
Growth slows down
Gross domestic product grew by 0.7 percent in 2015, but in the last months of
the year it was only 0.1 percent according to national statistics.
Protesters demand partnerships
A demonstration against a bill that will allow same-sex couples to enter into
partnership is taking place in Rome, but the turnout is not as great as
expected. Instead of half to one million participants that the organizers and
authorities counted on, there are some tens of thousands who join. The Senate is
currently investigating the proposal.
The House of Commons votes in favor of Senate reform
Prime Minister Renzi's proposal to reduce the Senate's power (see
January 2014) gets a first yes in Parliament's House of Commons, the
Chamber of Deputies. The proposal, which means, among other things, that the
Senate is lost and loses its legislative right is approved by the Senate just
over a week later. During the spring, the proposal will be considered once more
in the lower house and then proceed to the referendum.