Energy: Italy, record for wind and solar, consumption and emissions down (-3%)


In the first quarter of the year, ISPRED index back in positive territory

A significant leap forward in electricity production from wind and solar energy, which marked a + 24% in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period of 2018; hydroelectric production fell sharply (-12%) as well as energy consumption (-3%) and carbon dioxide emissions (-3%). This is the scenario outlined by the ENEA Quarterly Analysis of the Italian Energy System, which shows that in the first quarter of 2019, non-programmable renewable sources reached 15.2% of electricity generation, reaching the historical maximum of 15.4% of the second half of 2016.

Overall, in the first quarter of the year energy consumption from renewable sources has grown by 5% and gas consumption in electricity generation (+ 10%) also has grown significantly, while electricity imports have fallen by 23%. “The mild winter temperatures that limited the use of heating affected the drop in consumption and emissions; moreover, the use of petroleum products in transport and even more in petrochemicals and electricity generation has decreased ”, Francesco Gracceva, the ENEA expert who coordinates the analysis, pointed out.

It’s also worth highlighting a sharp decline in natural gas prices on international markets (-20% compared to the previous quarter), with estimates of a further 20% drop in the second quarter up to a price close to the 10-year lows of 2016. “A considerable fact of this phase of the global market is the strong decoupling between gas prices and oil prices currently under tension due to geopolitical events. A possible intensification of thef crisis could also affect gas prices ",  the expert explained.

The decrease in gas prices in the first quarter has led to significant advantages for the companies which have benefited from a reduction in electricity prices between 3% and 5%; in the second quarter. An even more pronounced decline (11-15%) is expected to bring prices below the values ​​of the beginning of 2018. “However, electricity prices for Italian companies - with the exception of energy-intensive ones - remain well beyond the average of the main EU countries, despite the fact that in the last five years the differential for businesses with lower consumption has halved, ”Gracceva said. "On the contrary, the positive differential between the prices paid by the average Italian household and those of the average EU household, which fell from 15% in 2011 to the current 2%, driven by system charges, narrowed considerably ", he said.

A decrease in prices for companies and a slight improvement in the decarbonisation and energy security indicators have brought the ENEA ISPRED Index - which measures the energy transition based on price trends, greenhouse gas emissions and safety of the energy system- back to positive. After a long negative trend, in the first quarter of 2019 the index marked a + 7% compared to the same period in 2018, but there are signs of criticalities on the security front, due to a strong increase in the electricity system of intermittent sources. “The double drop in consumption and emissions, even if limited, marks a positive turnaround for the achievement of the decarbonisation objectives, but the distance between the emissions estimated at the beginning of 2019 and those necessary to hit the target at 2030 remains close to the maximums of the last decade ”Gracceva concluded.


For more information please contact:

Francesco Gracceva, ENEA –  Studies, Analyses and Evaluations Unit,