Rimini, 6th November 2018 . The amount of electricity produced from renewable sources in 2017 was 103.4 TWh, about 3.5 TWh less than in 2016. The demand share of electric renewable energies was 32.4%, while this figure was 34% in 2016. The cause was the considerable decrease in hydroelectricity production: in 2017, hydroelectricity covered a mere 11.7% of the national demand while, in 2014, it represented 19.2%. It now represents 36.3% of renewable energy, while four years ago, its share among the country´s clean sources was almost half (49.7%).
Solar energy has grown by 14% compared to the previous year and now, by generating 28.8 TWh, it covers 7.8% of electricity demand (8.7% of domestic production). Nowadays, PV is the second largest source of renewable energy with 24% of the total production. The annual output of wind power is, on the other hand, stable (that is, 5.5% of the renewable energy total, down by one decimal place). Together, solar and wind power generated about 42.3 TWh in Italy in 2017, about 3 TWh more than in 2016 and only 5.4TWh more than in 2014. (Source: Terna).
The main event for the renewable sector is the much-awaited strategy defined in the Ministerial Decree for feeding-in electrical energy production from renewable sources. After debating with Associations, the Ministry of Economic Development sent the provision to the Ministry for the Environment acknowledging many of the observations presented, more precisely: the 10% increase in the feed-in fee foreseen for mini hydroelectric and mini wind power systems; the inclusion of another tender and registration procedure during 2021 in order to extend the decree´s validity time period and give operators greater certainty; the assignment of an award for the total energy produced by solar power systems installed in place of asbestos or Eternit as the only energy released into the network; priority to systems installed on closed and renovated dumping grounds as well as on areas that have obtained reclamation certification; the inclusion of a technological safeguarding factor that, should particularly unfavourable conditions arise for a source in competition with others within the same contingency, would safeguard the latter by activating a specific contingent; the possibility for hydroelectricity and wind power systems to use regenerating components, even with a further reduction in the feed-in tariff; the request for deposits to guarantee the actual carrying out of projects enrolled on the register to an adequately lower measure that the deposits foreseen for the tenders.
Future scenarios . The costs for producing solar and wind energy, which have already dropped by 73% and 23% respectively since 2010, will continue to fall. By 2020, renewable energies will be cheaper than traditional energy sources and by 2019, the best wind and solar power system set-ups will be offering electricity for the equivalent of $0.03/kWh, or even less. Over the next decade, all technologies for generating renewable energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels, with electricity production costs standing at between 3 and 10 cents ($) per kWh (Source: Irena)
Focus on energy efficiency .Enea´s annual energy efficiency report found that Italy invested over 3.7 billion Euros in 2017 thanks to eco-bonuses with an estimated saving of 112 ktep/year. This was all due to the 421,997 requests for a 65% tax reduction for energy upgrading interventions on existing properties. Then there were 43,227 requests through the Heating Account, corresponding to over 180 million Euros in incentives, of which 62 million Euros related to Public Administration energy efficiency interventions. Feed-in measures and stringent regulations have led to energy savings of slightly more than 8 Mtep/year, equivalent to almost 52% of the final objective for the 2011-2020 period, foreseen in the PAEE 2014 (First National Energy Efficiency Plan). The housing sector has already reached the 2020 objective (at 99.2%); industry is halfway(49%), while we are still behind if we look at transport (30.7%) and even further if we consider the tertiary sector (17.5%). And it is in this latter department, which includes public administration, that 62 million Euros of the ´Heating Account´ were spent on interventions to make the facilities more energy efficient (Source: Enea).
Focus on wind power . According to statistical data from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), in 2017 the amount of electricity feed-in was 52.5 GW, a drop of about 2.1 GW compared to 2016, for a cumulative total of about 539.6 GW of which 18.8 GW came from off-shore systems. It should nevertheless be remembered that, in 2001, the total was a mere 24 GW. Therefore, in 17 years, global wind power capacity is 23 times greater. In 2017, China was the country to install more turbines: 19.2 GW, that is, 37% of the total – a large amount yet less than in 2016 . reaching a cumulative power of 188.2 GW. The top 10 countries hold 85% of the world´s wind power, a figure that shows how the technology still has to reach beyond the borders of the main historical markets and enter into those that are emerging and highly potential. One only has to think of Latin America, where, in 2017, only 2.5 GW were fed into the network from wind power (total: 17.9 GW), or of Africa and the Middle East, where last year´s feed-in was a mere 621 MW (total: 4.5 GW). Again in 2017, Europe had its best year ever, led by Germany with over 6 GW. Excellent results also for the United Kingdom and the French market in reprisal. Finland, Belgium, Ireland and Croatia set new records. Although wind power covers just 5% of the world´s electricity needs, wind power industry and technology seem to be ripe and highly competitive on the energy market (Sources: GWEC and Anev).
Focus on solar power . The solar power sector is growing worldwide: in 2017 solar power system feed-in touched on 100 GW for the very first time. Solar power is experiencing a new boom, especially in Europe: in 2018, experts forecast an increase of more than 10 GW, something which has not occurred for years. Last year, the European solar energy market recorded an annual growth of 28%, with 8.61 GW. The most significant boost in Europe comes from energy purchasing tenders and contracts in which solar power is particularly outstanding due to its cheapness. Interest in private solar energy consumption is also contributing to this development. Solar energy could meet the needs of 13% of the world´s energy demand by 2030, compared to just 2% in 2016. This forecast comes from the international Agency for renewable energies according to which, the solar energy industry is ready for mass expansion, mainly due to a consistent reduction in costs. The forecast for 2030 is between 1,760 and 2,500 GW, compared to the current 227 GW. Up until now, the experts highlight, solar power has led to preventing 300 million tons of CO2 a year being emitted into the atmosphere and, in 2030, it could save the planet 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide (Sources: Irena and GTM Research).
Focus on electricity storage . A report on energy storage systems by Milan Polytechnic´s Energy & Strategy Group highlights that, in Italy, the potential ´energy storage´ market, from now until 2025, is estimated at 150 million Euros of which 50% regards totally new systems (over 25,000) and the remaining 50% concerns upgrades (about 21,000). In 2016, the global storage system market registered a record 1.2 GW of feed-in capacity with an increase of 500 MW compared to the previous year. The storage system market is now worth 6 billion Euros, but already by 2020, it is expected to exceed 15 billion. According to the latest forecasts from GlobalData, the capacity feed into energy storage facilities worldwide will reach 14 GW in 2020 (in 2015, it was 1.5 GW).
Focus on sustainable mobility . Almost 1.2 million electric cars were sold in the world in 2017 showing a growth of 57% compared to 2016 (about 750,000) and more than double the 537,000 electric cars sold in 2015. A positive trend that, according to forecasts, should continue in 2018 with almost two million new electric vehicles expected to enter onto the market. The same growth trends are recorded in Italy but the numbers are still quite small if compared to European and global market values. In 2017, in fact, 4,827 electric cars were sold (compared to 2,560 the previous year), just 0.24% of the total number of Italian vehicles (0.1% in 2016), of which 1,964 were full-electric (Battery Electric Vehicles, +40% compared to 2016) and 2,863 ´plug in´ cars (vehicles whose recharge can be associated with a traditional engine), which increased by 150% and which, for the first time, exceeded BEVs (Source: Milan Polytechnic Research). Numbers that are a long way from those of Norway and Germany, Europe´s top markets with 62,000 and 55,000 registrations respectively.
3.4 million cars powered by alternative fuels circulate in Italy. Of these, 2.3 million (5.99%) use dual petrol .LPG power, 926,704 (2.41%) use dual petrol-methane power, 174,087 (0.45%) are petrol hybrid while 7,560 (0.02%) are diesel hybrid. Altogether they represent 8.88% of vehicle circulation, equal to 38.5 million vehicles. The so-called ´alternatives´ are increasing compared to 2016, when the figure stood at 8.58% (8.33% at the end of 2015).
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