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An overview

The energy sector plays a decisive role in a nation's sustainable economic development, both with regard to availability of some of the earths's finite resources and to environmental impact. Within this framework, Italy is characterised by a strong dependence on foreign energy markets and a consistent share of energy produced from thermal energy sources.

Differently from the previous year, in 2015 there was an increase of both energy consumption and of total gross electricity generation. In more detail, electricity consumption was 4,804.2 kWh per inhabitant (+ 2 percent compared to 2014); total gross electricity generation was 46.5 GWh per 10,000 inhabitants, slightly increasing compared to 2014. The negative trend that has lasted for three years seems therefore to have stopped.

In the context of the European strategy for the promotion of sustainable economic growth, the development of renewable sources represents a priority goal for all Member States. As Directive 2009/28/EC sets out, in 2020 Italy will have to cover 17 percent of final energy consumption by means of renewable sources.

With regard to the electricity sector alone, in 2015 the total gross domestic electricity generation from renewable sources decreased, as well as its incidence on gross domestic electricity consumption. More specifically, in 2015, the share of gross domestic electricity consumption covered by renewable energy sources in Italy was 33.2 percent (with a decrease of 4.1 percentage points on the previous year). This is due to the remarkable decrease of hydroelectric power production.