Italy to end power sector coal use in 2025
London, 24 October (Argus) — Italy will hasten the phase-out of coal from the generation mix and end all production from coal-fired plants by 2025, economic development minister Carlo Calenda said today.
Public consultation on the new national energy strategy highlighted the need to accelerate the decarbonisation of Italian power system, Calenda said. The government will support a target of 2025 for the phase-out of coal-fired power. It will require grid operator Terna to report on all the necessary infrastructure needed to achieve the phase-out without threatening the power system's safety, Calenda said.
Careful action will be needed regarding the decommissioning of Italian utility Enel's 2.4GW Brindisi South and 1.8GW Torrevaldaliga North plants as well as the 432MW Sulcis facility and Czech utility EPH's 534MW Fiumesanto plant in Sardinia, he said. Italy has about 8GW of installed coal-fired capacity accounting for around 15pc of national generation, according to the national energy strategy.
The first proposal under the strategy — that all coal-fired plants be closed by 2030 — was outlined in parliament in May. The 2025 scenario was also considered but Calenda said at the time Calenda that it would result in stranded costs for plant operators because some facilities would be closed before complete amortisation of the initial investments. The stranded costs are hard to quantify, Calenda said.
Lower coal-fired capacity will have to be replaced with combined-cycle gas turbine and open-cycle gas turbine capacity, according to proposals under the strategy. Terna has said Italy should increase gas-fired capacity by at least 1GW to guarantee flexible dispatchable capacity without destabilising the Italian system. But a complete phase-out by 2030 would require another 2.4GW of gas-fired capacity and another 1GW interconnector between Sardinia and the mainland, according to the strategy. This suggests that a 2025 scenario would require further investment. Replacing coal only with renewable capacity does not seem possible, Calenda said.
The final version of strategy will be published by 10 November.