Italy and coal

From Global Energy Monitor

The U.S. Geological Service notes that "although no coal production was reported for 2006, Carbosulcis S.p.a., which was a Sardinian Government-owned coal-mining enterprise, reached an agreement in November with Enel S.p.a. that called for Carbosulcis to provide 1.1 mt of coal to Enel within 3 years. Enel was Italy’s largest power company; Carbosulcis was the country’s only coal mining enterprise; it had coal reserves estimated to amount to 600 million tonnes".[1]

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that preliminary data for Italian coal consumption in 2007 was 25.3 million tonnes.[2]

Italy had 71.4 gigawatts of installed electricity generating capacity in 2004. However, the bulk of the country's electricity generation is from oil-fired thermal plants. The U.S. Energy Information Administration noted that is response to the high cost of oil "power generators have begun to switch to alternative fuel sources, especially natural gas and co-firing plants burning combinations of oil, natural gas, and coal. Most new investment in electricity generating capacity in Italy has been in the form of gas-fired plants, specifically combined-cycle, gas-fired turbines (CCGFTs)."[3]

Italy, the third-largest coal buyer in Europe, was expected to grow its coal imports by 7 percent in 2011. The coal imports were driven by an increased demand in its steel maker.[4]

Citizen activism and protest

July 10, 2009: Greenpeace activists spray-paint coal ship and power station in Italy

A group of Greenpeace activists spray-painted the message "G8: Failed" on a ship carrying 25,000 tons of coal bound for the Civitavecchia power station, near Rome. Further south, activists in Brindisi painted "Stupid" on Italy's largest coal plant. The actions were intended to protest the G8 meeting on climate change, which UN official Yvo de Boer described as "disappointing."[5]

Proposed coal-fired power stations

  • Civitavecchia/ Torrevaldaliga Nord 1 & 2 Power Station in Lazio is proposed by Enel Produzione SpA to have three 660 megawatt units with an installed capacity of 1980 megawatts at a cost of €1.5 billion. This project is currently being developed. Power in Europe reported in April 2008 that the first 660-MW unit was expected to be commissioned "this year" with two scheduled to be commissioned in 2009. The newsletter reported that the project had encountered stiff opposition including hunger strikes in May 2007. The year before Enel was mired in legal controversy. In February 2006 regional authorities suspended the project on the grounds that the company lacked full authorization for the coal loading jetty. In March 2006 Enel appealed the decision and, in May, was cleared to proceed.[6]
  • Porto Tolle Power Station is a proposal by Enel Produzione SpA for a oil-to-coal conversion with an installed capacity of 2000 megawatts and a notional commissioning date of 2012-13. Power in Europe noted in June 2007 that the project was "still awaiting environmental clearance and final approval from MAP. Project ‘not a foregone conclusion’ says Enel’s Fulvio Conti, but Enel maintains 2012-13 horizon.". It also noted that this was a similar proposal to the Civitavecchia project in Lazio. The newsletter states that both the projects "have struggled against sustained environmental opposition and political change."[6] On May 17, 2011, Italy's top administrative court canceled government clearance for Enel's project. Decisions of Italy's State Council, the highest administrative court, cannot be appealed, which means Enel would have to either give up on the 2.5 billion euro ($3.54 billion) project or start a lengthy permitting process from scratch.[7]
  • Rossano Calabro Power Station has been proposed by Enel Produzione SpA to conver the oil-fired station to coal. The proposed installed capacity is not known. In May 2005 it was reported that the municipal council of Rossano voted unanimously against the project and that Enel abandoned the project.[8]
  • Sulcis Power Station is proposed to have an installed capacity of 450 megawatts. However, a U.S. Department of Energy report lists "Sulcis IGCC Project" as being a 957 megawatt project with a notional commissioning date of 2009.[9]
  • Enel's Unnamed Albanian Power Station project: In its 2007 annual report Enel states that "in Albania, Enel signed a memorandum of understanding with that country’s Ministry for the Economy for the development of a 1,300 MW coal-fired plant and the construction of interconnection to enable the import of a significant portion of its output into Italy."[10]

Articles and Resources


  1. Walter G. Steblez, "The Mineral Industry of Italy", 2006 Minerals Yearbook'', U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey, May 2008.
  2. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "International Coal Consumption: Selected Countries, Most Recent Annual Estimates, 1980-2007, Except as Noted", U.S. Energy Information Administration, June 2008. (The original data in short tons has been converted to metric tonnes).
  3. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Italy: Electricity", U.S. Energy Information Administration website, accessed July 2008.
  4. "Italy 2011 coal imports seen up 7 percent" Svetlana Kovalyova, Reuters, November 21, 2011.
  5. Jani Myer, [ "Greenpeace red-flags ship carrying SA coal," IOL, July 11, 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "PiE’s new power plant project tracker – April 2008", Power in Europe, Issue 523, April 7, 2008, page 29.
  7. "Italy top court stops Enel's key coal conversion plan" Reuters, May 17, 2011.
  8. "Enel: Coal Plan in Difficult Straits", Satffetta News, May 19, 2005.
  9. U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, "Gasification World Database 2007", October 2007, page 19.
  10. Enel, "Annual Report 2007", Enel, page 12.

Related articles

Europe and coal

External Articles

Background information

  • International Energy Agency, "Coal in Italy in 2005", International Energy Agency website, accessed July 2008.
  • International Energy Agency, "Italy", International Energy Agency website, accessed July 2008.
  • U.S. Geological Survey, Italy 1994-2006
  • European Environment Agency, European Pollutant Emission Register. (This has a list of power stations and their current emissions).

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