In 2017, electricity demand in Italy reached 320.5 TWh, an increase of 2.0% compared to the previous year. This was satisfied for 88.2% by domestic production, still mainly covered by the traditional thermoelectric component that continues to represent more than 50% of the requirement, and the remaining share was satisfied from net imports from abroad. The latter increased again in 2017 (+2.0 %), after the 20.2% reduction compared to 2015 due to, among other causes, the decline in electricity imports from France.
Looking at historical electricity demand shows that after a period of steady growth up to 2007, there is a broadly fluctuating trend with a downward tendency caused by the economic crisis.
Electricity supplied to the Italian network (TWh)
Historical evolution of recorded energy requirements in Italy since 2000. Based on the selected period, it is possible to observe the series of annual data (use the zoom) or monthly details (move the graph from the right to the left).
Structure of electricity supplied (TWh)
Composition of energy requirements for the various elements which make up the demand structure: production, pumping and foreign exchanges. Based on the selected period, it is possible to observe how a demand structure of this size has changed since 2005.
Distribution of demand coverage (TWh)
Historical developments made to the contribution of renewable and non-renewable (“traditional”) production sources in covering Italy’s energy requirements since 2005.
Electricity consumption, amounting to 301.9 TWh, showed a positive increase in 2017 after the reduction of the previous two years. The trend for this figure increased until 2008, when it reached the absolute peak of 319 TWh, after which the severe economic crisis also hit electricity consumption, in particular in 2009 and the following years, when it continued to see-saw with a recovery in 2015 of +2.1% and a further recovery in 2017 (+2.2%).
The structural change in the Italian electricity sector, for a long time essentially stable, shows a gradual reduction in industrial consumption to the benefit of the tertiary sector, with steady consumption in the domestic and agricultural sectors. Despite the decline in electricity consumption over the last decade, the industry still remains the most important sector as regards its share of Italian consumption (in 2017 it accounted for 41.6%).
Observation of the consumer market shows the gradual decline of the protected market against a significant increase in the free market.
Electricity consumption by sector (TWh)
Historical changes to Italy’s electricity consumption since 2000, broken down by each economic business sector.
Electricity consumption in the industrial sector (TWh)
Composition of the electricity consumption in the industrial sector for the various product groups, at different levels of detail. Based on the selected period, it is possible to observe how the structure of this sector has evolved since 2000.
Electricity consumption by market type (TWh)
All the significant changes to Italy’s electricity consumption divided by the three market types since 2000.
In 2017, gross national production amounting to 295.8 TWh was satisfied for 70.8% by thermoelectric production (+5.0% compared to 2016), for 12.8% by hydroelectric production (which, with -14.1% compared to 2016, fell for the third year in a row) and for the remaining 16.3% by geothermal, wind and photovoltaic sources. The latter, after the decrease recorded for the first time in 2016 (-3.7%) mainly due to reduced solar irradiation compared to 2015, increased again by +10.3%; while as regards the other renewable sources, except for wind power which remained basically stable, a reduction was recorded which naturally mainly concerned the hydroelectric component, but to a lesser extent also geothermal sources (-1.4%) and bioenergies (-0.7%).
Gross electricity production by source (TWh)
Composition of gross electricity production since 2000, obtained through the various sources.
Gross production from thermoelectric sections (TWh)
Composition of thermoelectric energy production by the various sources at different levels of detail. Based on the selected period, it is possible to observe how thermoelectric energy production has evolved since 2000.
Renewable sources electricity production (TWh)
Historical evolution of the contribution of various renewable energy sources to Italy’s electricity production since 2000.
From 2002 to 2008 the “free power-stations” decree increased the production of electricity from natural gas by about 75%. Since 2009, as a direct consequence of the post-crisis reduction in demand and the gradual introduction of renewables into the Italian electricity system, the decline in production from natural gas began, while continuing to maintain its primacy over other fuels.
The change in the fuel mix, the changes related to the efficiency of plant facilities as well as the reduction in volumes of combined cycles, a result of the joint effect of demand and the introduction of renewables to the system, had direct effects on emission levels of the installed Italian plants: the total emission of the generation facilities for CO2 fell from 132.5 Mt in 2000 to 102.4 Mt at the end of 2017.
Gross thermoelectric production from fuel (TWh)
Composition of thermoelectric energy production from the various fuel sources since 2000.
CO2 emission in electricity production
the significant changes registered for the CO2 emissions related to electricity production using various fuel sources since 2000.
CO2 (y-axis, m ton) vs renewable (x-axis, %) in 2000-2017 period
Historical evolution of the contribution to CO2 emissions from electricity production using renewable sources since 2000.
Gross production from fuel (MW)
Composition of thermoelectric energy production capacity since 2005, by the various types of fuels.
Installed capacity in Italy at the end of 2017 was in line with the previous year overall, amounting to 117.1 GW. The decrease in thermoelectric power due to the extensive divestment of traditional generation facilities and to reconversions, with the reduction of plants which were no longer competitive in the Italian electricity scenario, was mitigated by the commissioning of new plants and the increases recorded in the renewable energy sector, which continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace from 2014 onwards. It may be recalled that in the years between 2009 and 2013 the “new” renewable sectors (wind power, photovoltaic and bioenergy) enjoyed an exceptional growth trend in Italy, with a peak in 2011, thanks in part to a particularly encouraging legislative framework. From 2014, as more favourable measures gradually disappeared and the European target for meeting the requirement with renewables was exceeded in 2015, the pace of growth in the sector stabilised at lower levels.
* The efficient power of a generation plant is the maximum electric power possible for a period of operation long enough for the sole production of active power, assuming all the parts of the plant are entirely efficient and in optimal condition (of flow and thermal gradient for of hydroelectric plants and of availability of fuel and cooling water for thermoelectric plants). It is called gross efficient power if measured at the clamps on the electricity generators in the plant.
Gross efficient power* by source (MW)
Historical changes to the generation facilities' capacity of electricity production since 2000, by the various sources.
Gross efficient power* of thermoelectric sections (MW)
Composition of the thermoelectric capacity from the various types of thermoelectric production, at different levels of detail. Based on the selected period, it is possible to observe how the capacity of the thermoelectric structure has evolved since 2000.
Gross efficient power* of renewable energy plants(MW)
Percentage composition of the sole capacity of renewables by source. Based on the selected period, it is possible to observe how this production sector has evolved since 2000.