The National Energy Strategy (or, according to the Italian acronym, “SEN”) is the ten-year plan that the Italian Government drew up to manage the development of the national energy system. The Strategy lays down the actions to be achieved by 2030, in accordance with the long-term scenario drawn up in the EU Energy Roadmap 2050, which provides for a reduction of emissions by at least 80% from their 1990 levels.

The current National Energy Strategy has been enacted by means of Decree of the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of the Environment and Protection of Land and Sea of November 10, 2017.

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SEN is the result of a highly participative process that involved the Italian Parliament, the Regions, and over 250 stakeholders, including associations, companies, public bodies, citizens, and academic institutions.

Three key words characterise the National Energy Strategy 2017:

1.       Competitiveness: aligning Italian energy prices with European ones; opening up new markets to innovative companies; fostering research and development.

2.       Sustainability: contributing to decarbonisation, in line with the long-term targets of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; improving energy efficiency, and encouraging energy conservation; promoting environmentally conscious lifestyles, from sustainable mobility to wise energy use.

3.       Safety: improving the security of energy supply, while ensuring its flexibility; strengthening Italy’s energy independence.

Here below some core targets of the Strategy are summarized:

·         reducing final energy consumption by a total of 10 Mtoe by 2030;

·         reaching a 28% share of renewables in total energy consumption by 2030, and a 55% share of renewables in electricity consumption by 2030;

·         strengthening supply security;

·         narrowing the existing energy price gap1;

·         phasing out the use of coal in electricity generation by 2025 (see also Chapter 14).

The Strategy sets out measures to achieve sustainable growth and environmental targets, fostering a low-carbon economy and the fight against climate change. According to the plan, renewables (RES) and energy efficiency will improve energy security by reducing the dependence of the energy system and cost-effectiveness by fostering the reduction of costs and prices.

The Strategy pays particular attention to energy safety, highlighting the importance of improving the security and adequacy of energy systems, as well as the flexibility of gas networks and power grids, in order to:

·         integrate a growing amount of new undertakings, by strengthening and fostering the evolution of networks, grids, and markets;

·         diversify gas supply sources, due to the complex geopolitical context of the gas import countries. Therefore, the Strategy recommends to optimise the use of the existing infrastructures, to develop new connection infrastructures and to improve the flexibility of supply sources, by strengthening gas pipelines and the peak-demand security margin.

More specifically, the provisions foreseen by the Strategy in order to diversify the gas supply sources are hereinafter summarized:

·         promoting the construction of new gas import pipelines by private parties, in accordance with market principles;

·         holding auctions (instead of using tariffs) for LNG regasification services, in order to make the use of Italian gas terminals more attractive.

With reference to the electricity system, SEN highlights that in a context of increasing complexity, the power system should not only be flexible, but reliable in terms of: adequacy in order to cover electricity demand; safesty in order to respond to changes, without violating its operation limits; resilience in order to predict, accommodate, adapt to and/or rapidly recover from extreme events (i.e. extreme weather events and other cases of force majeure).

Energy is a cross-cutting issue, which requires coordination among Government, Regions and ARERA. For this purpose, the Strategy provides some measures in order to implement its contents in the next years, such as:

·         the setting-up of a special Steering Committee2. The members of the Committee, more specifically, are representatives from the Ministries of Economy, Transport, and Cultural Heritage, as well as from the Regions. The Steering Committee shall plan periodical consultations with local governments;

·         the obligation for the Government to present a yearly report to the Parliament on the status of implementation of the Strategy, and on the actions taken to achieve its targets, as well as to undertake a participative process of revision of the Strategy every three years.

1 The target of narrowing the gap between Italian final electricity prices and European ones will be achieved through the reduction of the average cost of power generation from renewables, the convergence of power generation mixes across European countries, the full liberalisation of final markets and the progressive reduction of system charges.

2 The setting-up of such Committee is in the process of approval.

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