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Prospects for coal in Italy

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World Coal,

Italy faces challenges of poor economic growth and restricted competitiveness, in part due to high electricity rates, according to a new report from Dr Stephen Mill at the IEA Clean Coal Centre.

The report – ‘Prospects for coal and clean coal technologies in Italy’ – identifies various factors that keep the price of power high in Italy, including an energy mix that relies primarily on expensive imported natural gas and the highest incentives in Europe for renewables production, comprising around 20% of the average consumers’ energy bill.

Introducing more coal into the energy mix could provide significant economic benefits, said Dr Mills, but in recent years several proposed clean coal-based power projects have been cancelled. These would have added 4.4 GW of capacity to the Italian grid, providing secure, lower-cost electricity.

The current coal-fired fleet has a combined capacity of 9.7 GW with most plants using modern technology to reach high levels of efficiency. Average fleet efficiency is about 40%, compared to a European average of 35%.

Italy has also taken and important step to developing carbon capture and storage technology with the establishment of the CO2 Technology Centre Sulcis at Sotocarbo’s research centre in Sardinia. This is also the location of the country’s last operating mine – the Carbosulcis mine.

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