Italy is targeting a reduction in natural gas consumption through the winter season by increasing the use of coal, turning down heating across the country, and pushing to change citizens’ habits, according to a document circulated by the ministry for ecological transition.
As the country faces the prospect of paying twice as much for energy imports as it did a year ago, outgoing Prime Minister Mario Draghi has outlined a new savings plan.
Under the initiative, Italy will aim to cut gas consumption by 8.2 billion cubic meters through March, in order to meet a European Union target of a 15% reduction. The country has estimated consumption of 54.8 billion cubic meters between the beginning of August of this year and the end of March 2023.
However, the actual reduction will be less pronounced, totaling some 3.6 billion cubic meters, or 7% of consumption, as Italy has obtained an exemption from Brussels based on its gas storage capacity.
Consumers and businesses across Europe are racing to stave off an energy catastrophe this winter, as Russia squeezes gas deliveries and inflation continues to rise. Italy could spend as much as 100 billion euros ($99.3 billion) on energy imports this year, more than double last year’s total, Finance Minister Daniele Franco has said.
Italy’s energy saving measures are being enacted in tandem with moves to diversify away from Russian supplies. State-controlled oil giant Eni SpA is planning to increase gas flows and liquefied natural gas imports from alternative sources including African countries to substitute Russian deliveries.
The new Italian plan calls for the following:
- Traditional winter heating schedule to be shortened by two weeks.
- Indoor temperatures to be capped at 19 degrees Celsius (66.2 degrees Fahrenheit) and heating hours reduced.
- Increased power production from alternative sources including coal.
- Reduced winter heating in homes and offices.
(September 6, 2022)
ITALY - Natural Gas - Consumption