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Italian energy strategy - the key to revival

Italian energy strategy - the key to revival

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Although Italy's national energy strategy was promulgated late, its energy development has more fully and thoroughly respected the will of the people. In the Italian energy strategy, building natural gas hub status and developing renewable energy are two of the most important directions.
 
As one of the founding members of NATO, the European Union and the Eurozone, Italy has maintained a friendly cooperative relationship since the establishment of diplomatic relations with China. With the successful signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, Italy has also become the first of the G7 to join the “One Belt, One Road” initiative. The country has not only created a new era of Sino-Italian economic and trade exchanges, but also greatly promoted the further promotion of the initiative and the construction of a new pattern of global trade cooperation. Among them, energy is an important area for Sino-Italian cooperation, and it is also an important option for Italy to complete emission reduction targets, create jobs, and achieve sustainable economic growth. Studying the Italian energy development strategy is of great significance to the development of energy cooperation between the two countries and the development of the European energy market.
 
Italian energy strategy evolution
 
In 2013, Italy enacted the first National Energy Strategy officially approved by the government, which is the most important change in its energy field in recent years. The strategy proposes “four core objectives”, “five expected results” and “seven leading areas” with the theme of creating a more competitive and sustainable energy system. The strategy aims to build a safe and economical energy supply system that will power the country's economic development. Among them, the core objectives include: reducing energy price differences with other European countries, reducing energy consumption; achieving and surpassing EU climate and energy strategic goals; ensuring energy security and reducing external dependence; increasing energy industry investment to achieve more sustainable Economic Growth. The expected result is: by 2020, quantitative indicators such as energy efficiency, energy prices, renewable energy and fossil energy consumption, and energy emission performance will meet established standards. For example, renewable energy accounts for a doubling of primary energy consumption compared to 2010. Energy prices need to be reduced to the European average and provide no less than 100 billion euros in support for renewable energy and energy. In addition, the energy strategy specifies seven pioneering areas that cover renewable energy, natural gas, electricity, and energy efficiency as an entry point to achieving energy strategic goals.
 
In 2017, based on the 2013 energy strategy framework, Italy proposed the elimination of coal-fired power generation and the goal of improving renewable energy development in 2025. Overall, Italy's national energy strategy was promulgated late, and its energy development has more fully and thoroughly respected the will of the people than other countries. In the Italian energy strategy, the construction of natural gas hubs and the development of renewable energy are two of the most important directions for their energy industry.
 
Italy's energy self-sufficiency rate has been extremely low. The reserves of coal and oil resources in the country are extremely small. Only a small amount of energy resources such as water, geothermal and natural gas are far from enough to support its economic development. As the fourth largest energy consumer in Europe, more than 80% of Italy's energy resources need to be imported. The net import of electric energy has been at the highest level in Europe for a long time. The proportion of imports is close to 15%, and the dependence on natural gas is more than 90%. The heavy dependence on imported energy has kept Italian energy prices high, and retail electricity prices are 60%-80% higher than those in other countries.
 
Before the financial crisis broke out, Italy experienced the post-war economic miracle and the rise of “Third Italy”. The rapidly rising economic power temporarily masked the problem of excessive energy prices. However, since the 1990s, as the Italian economy has been in a downturn, the excessive energy costs have weakened its industrial and economic competitiveness.
 
Italy attaches great importance to the public's willingness in the field of energy development. After the Chernobyl accident and the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Italy held two referendums. The government respected the results of the referendum and announced the complete abandonment of nuclear power. In addition, the environmental problems caused by coal-fired power generation have triggered strong public protests, and the government has complied with the public's commitment to eliminate coal power by 2025 at the latest. With the development of hydropower resources becoming saturated, the Italian energy supply has gradually entered a difficult position.
 
Although the problem of lack of energy is not unique to Italy, Japan, South Korea and many countries in Europe have the same problems, but Italy's determination to the green development of the energy economy and the importance of the people's wishes are far better than other countries. In Japan, for example, even if the Fukushima nuclear accident occurred in Japan, nuclear power was not completely abandoned. However, the will of the people has indeed increased the difficulty of the construction of the Italian energy diversification supply system to a certain extent. Excessive external dependence leads to high energy prices, which increases the economic and social operating costs, and thus reduces the products of various industries and even the whole. Economic competitiveness.
 
Natural gas strategy faces multi-party game situation
 
Natural gas accounts for more than 40% of Italy's primary energy consumption. It is currently the most important energy source in Italy. In the energy strategy of 2013, natural gas was listed in the second of the “seven leading areas”, ranking ahead of all other energy categories. The importance is evident.
 
As a long-term energy partner in Europe, Russia has a huge influence in the European natural gas market. Since 2015, Russia has embarked on the “Beixi 2” natural gas pipeline project through the Baltic Sea and Germany. The project triggered the differentiation of EU opinion and the strong opposition of the United States, but with the consensus reached by France and Germany, the resistance of the “Beixi No. 2” project gradually decreased. Italy is at the end of the Russian-European natural gas pipeline network, which is strongly dependent on Russian natural gas. Therefore, the commissioning of new pipelines will become an unfavorable factor for Italy to establish its position as a natural gas hub in southern Europe.
 
In recent years, the United States intends to build a southern natural gas corridor from Azerbaijan (hereinafter referred to as the “corridor”) as an alternative to Russian natural gas. Azerbaijan also sees it as an important opportunity to open up the European market. In frequent consultations, Italy reached a consensus on the construction of the Adriatic Natural Gas Pipeline (TAP) project in the final section of the “corridor”. In addition to the “corridor”, the development of oil and gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean (Israel, Lebanon, etc.) and North Africa (mainly Algeria) will help Italy to seize the status of a natural gas transportation hub in Southern Europe.
 
However, the Algerian oil industry faces multiple difficulties in water resources, transportation, economic conditions and social security. There are conflicts between the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, and oil and gas resources may not be able to achieve peaceful development. In addition, the cross-sea pipeline project is not only costly, but has also caused many protests by the people, and whether the pipeline can be successfully started is still a variable. The Italian natural gas strategy faces a complex international situation. Whether the goal of building a southern European gas transmission hub can be achieved depends more on the multi-party game than on its own efforts.
 
Renewable energy provides space for energy strategy
 
The Italian government and people's support for the development of renewable energy is among the highest in Europe. As early as 2003, Italy began to provide high subsidies for renewable energy generation and achieved rapid development of renewable energy. Among them, photovoltaic power generation is the most significant. From 2003 to 2013, the photovoltaic power generation in Italy increased from 24GWh to 21,589GWh, an increase of nearly 900 times. By 2014, Italy's PV installed capacity ranked second in the world, second only to Germany.
 
Italy has not only achieved an ever-increasing proportion of renewable energy consumption, but has also raised higher targets. In 2014, Italy completed the 2020 development goal set by the European Union ahead of schedule and became the first major country in the EU to achieve this goal.
 
According to the energy strategy of 2013, the proportion of renewable energy in final energy consumption should reach 19%-20% in 2020, which is higher than the EU's target of 17%, and power generation accounts for more than 35%. The energy strategy for 2017 further proposes that by 2030, renewable energy consumption will account for 28% and power generation will account for 55%. In January 2019, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) released the "2030 National Comprehensive Plan for Climate and Energy", increasing the proportion of consumption to 30%.
 
However, maintaining the rapid development of renewable energy requires huge support costs and subsidies. According to Italian law, energy regulators pass the cost of cross-subsidization to the consumer group. Coupled with the continuous increase in surcharge rates, the issue of energy prices has become increasingly prominent.
 
In July 2014, the surcharge for renewable energy in Italy reached a peak of 12.5 billion euros. Under this surcharge, the surcharge for a typical small and medium-sized enterprise is as high as 0.06 euro/kWh, and in 2008, the surcharge The rate is less than 0.01 Euro / kWh. In response, the Italian government revised its incentives for renewable energy at the end of 2014, especially the substantial reduction in subsidies. As the level of incentives for renewable energy fell rapidly, in 2015, photovoltaic power generation in Italy began to decline. In addition, the rapid development of renewable energy has put forward higher requirements for the power grid, and the problem of relatively backward power grid construction has gradually become prominent. Although Italy introduced the Infrastructure Strategic Plan for the strengthening of transportation networks and power grids in 2010, involving an investment of 233 billion euros, Italy's long-term economic situation is not good, and most of the planning projects have not been implemented.
 
Although Italy's renewable energy strategy does not completely solve the energy problem, the results achieved are still worthy of recognition. First of all, with the vigorous development of renewable energy in Italy, the technological advantages have accumulated rapidly. Until today, Italian solar thermal power generation, second-generation biomass fuel, geothermal power generation and energy storage technologies are leading the world. Secondly, relying on advanced technology and technology, Italy has achieved a significant decline in the cost of renewable energy generation. The cost of photovoltaic power generation has dropped by more than 70%, and in 2014 it fell to the same level as the market electricity price. Finally, the expansion of the scale of renewable energy has promoted the development of the Italian energy market. In the context of the continued economic recession, the energy sector is still one of the few industrial sectors where the number of employed people does not fall, and energy companies are at the forefront. The proportion of enterprises exceeds 10%, among which there are many enterprises with high technology added value.
 
With the successful signing of the “One Belt, One Road” memorandum of understanding, China and Italy have a broader prospect of cooperation in the energy field. Among them, China has obvious advantages in the fields of capital, talents and energy infrastructure construction. Italy wants to build a safe and economical energy supply system, and it will inevitably need to upgrade the transportation network and transmission network. As the scale of the Italian energy market expands, the operation and maintenance of its energy infrastructure will also have strong demand, which is just right. As a huge market for China's energy industry's advantageous production capacity. Moreover, Italy is a founding member of the European Union and a member of the Group of Seven (G7). The deepening of Sino-Italian cooperation will further increase Europe's recognition of China's economy and culture, thereby continuing to expand China's international influence and enhance China's energy sector. The right to speak internationally.

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