Italy Energy and Environment Facts

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.

  • COUNTRYAAH: 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 from hydropower.

  • 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.


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

December 23

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

December 23

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 billion.

Paolo Gentiloni asked to become prime minister.

December 11

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

December 4th

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 percent.


Record number of refugees 2016

November 29th

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

September 26th

Prime Minister Renzi receives government support to hold the referendum on constitutional reform on December 4.


Thousands of migrants rescued

August 30th

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 four days.

Powerful earthquake

August 24th

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

22 August

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

August 8th

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 January 2014).


Same-sex partnerships legal

July 29

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

July 5

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 around Sicily.


A “half place” in the UN

June 28

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

June 20

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 2017.


The referendum on oil and gas fails

April 17

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 health aspects.

The lower house approves Senate reform

April 12

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

April 8

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

March 31st

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

February 12

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

January 31

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

January 11

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.

Italy Energy and Environment Facts

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