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Italy relies too heavily on imported fossil fuels

EU Energy dependence.PNG

Energy security and climate change: Italy relies too heavily on imported fossil fuels

Italy is the only major EU country presenting an energy import rate higher than 75%

The latest data released by Unione Petrolifera, Italy’s oil lobby, show that with 157.4 million tons, oil ranked by far as the main energy source in 2014, accounting for 35.2% of final energy demand. According to UP, 90% of oil supply at the national level is covered by imports (mostly from Russia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan and Libya), for an annual value of € 25 billion in 2014 (€ 30.5 billion in 2013). UP also estimates that natural gas is the second main energy source, accounting for 32.4% of final energy consumption, meaning further € 15 billion of imports in 2014 (€ 20.5 billion in 2013). Locally produced renewables lie behind at 18.8% of final energy consumption, followed by solid fuels such as coal (8.8%) and by net electricity imports (4.8%).

Data released earlier this year by the European Commission also show that Italy is among the five EU countries (and the only one among major Member States) having an energy dependency rate higher than 75%, against a 53% average at EU-28 level. With a 76.9% ratio (2013 data), it appears to be particularly exposed to possible disruptions of supply from non-EU countries.

Based on these data, one can easily see how relevant fossil fuel imports are for Italy's economy. Considering a GDP of € 1,595.296 billion in 2013 at current prices (Purchasing Power Standards, source: Eurostat), fossil fuel imports accounted for more than 3% of Italy's GDP that year. If only a small part of such costs were turned every year into investments to further develop domestic sources of sustainable energy and fuels, what would the impact on economic growth and jobs at local level be?

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