The Italian Government today announced its intention to phase out coal by 2025 when it formally adopts its National Energy Strategy on the 10th November.
- Italy’s National Energy Strategy commitment announced today adds to the growing momentum for the international phase out of coal.
- Pressure is now growing on Germany to act within the G7 group of countries – or be left alone with Japan and the US who have yet to commit to phase out coal.
Italy’s commitment sets an example to other governments around the world. Coal power plants that have been operated for as little as 15 years will be retired. This shows just how poor the investment decision was in the first place, which was made in the face of public opposition and warnings of the lack of any future for coal. Italy’s leading utility company Enel must now cease its efforts to secure capacity subsidies for coal plants and instead focus on accelerating the clean energy transition.
The closures of recent coal power plants in both Italy and The Netherlands in the last month demonstrates that there is simply no business case for new coal anywhere in Europe: all utilities and investors are now on notice that they are making a bad bet if they continue to pursue coal.
Italy’s announcement further increases the pressure on the incoming government in Germany. Chancellor Merkel will now need to show her leadership and set out a coal phase out plan over the coming year.
In addition, Italian Ministers also announced that they would increase the deployment of renewables, include a 2050 scenario in line with EU targets and the Paris Agreement, and increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations for electric vehicles to 19,000 by 2020.
E3G welcomes the recognition that there is no need for new Liquefied Natural Gas capacity. We believe, however, that further deployment of renewables, interconnectors, storage, smart systems and demand side management would remove the need for the proposed new gas pipelines as demonstrated by a recent study. As has now been seen in the case of coal power plants, we believe that new gas investment will be at high risk of asset stranding
Chris Littlecott, Programme Leader for Fossil Fuel Transition of E3G said:
Italy’s positive commitment to phase out coal by 2025 demonstrates real international leadership as it completes its year holding the G7 Presidency. Italy now joins its G7 peers in Canada, France and the UK in taking action to phase out coal power generation over the next decade. Together, they can lead a growing coalition of countries and regions that are now acting on coal.
Lisa Fischer, Policy Adviser at E3G said:
We welcome the intention to protect consumers by not building additional LNG capacity. Further deployment of renewables, interconnectors, storage, smart systems and demand side management will also remove the need for the proposed new gas pipelines.
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Notes to Editors
E3G is an independent climate change think tank operating to accelerate the global transition to a low carbon economy. E3G specializes in climate diplomacy, climate risk, energy policy and climate finance.
In 2016, E3G was ranked the fifth most influential environmental think tank in the world, third in Europe and first in the UK by the Go to Think Tank Index.