Italian energy strategy 'must reconsider role of coal': Assocarboni
London (Platts)--19Nov2012/911 am EST/1411 GMT
Italy must work coal into its 2012-2020 national energy strategy if it
is to avoid spiraling electricity costs, chairman of coal industry
association Assocarboni Andrea Clavarino said Monday.
The country is set to import 19 million mt of steam coal in 2012, up
12% on 2011, but Italy remains some way behind other European countries in
the contribution coal makes to power generation, Clavarino said.
"If the Italian government takes to heart the competitiveness of the
country, then it should carefully reconsider the role of coal in the new
National Energy Strategy," he said, according to a statement.
Speaking at the IEA/Coal Industry Advisory Board plenary meeting in
Paris, Clavarino criticized the lack of any reference to the role of coal in
the strategy, presently in public consultation.
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The plan "inexplicably focuses even more on natural gas, by far the most
expensive fuel to produce electricity, which already accounts for 60% of
electricity production in Italy. Furthermore, it provides additional
subsidies to renewable energy, now at Eur9 billion [$11.5 billion] per year.
This would further increase already expensive bills, not bring them down."
Coal's 12% share of the electricity generation market was the lowest in
Europe, Clavarino said. "To regain competitiveness and secure our power
supply, we need to rebalance Italy's mix of sources... we need to bring
the mix in line to that of other European countries, whose electricity
production depends for 60% on nuclear and coal on average."
In the first nine months of 2012 coal consumption increased by about 40%
in UK, 10% in Germany, 15% in Spain and 24% in Turkey, Clavarino said.
Existing Italian coal-fired power stations had high efficiency rates,
Clavarino said. "Our plants have obtained all the stringent European
environmental certifications [EMAS, or EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme]
and boast an average efficiency of 39%, with peaks of 46% in the case of the
Torrevaldaliga North and for the prospective oil-to-coal conversion at Porto
Tolle, Vado Ligure and SEI power plants, compared to the European average of
35%," he said.
Planned new coal units at Porto Tolle (1,980 MW), Vado Ligure (460 MW)
and Saline Joniche (1,320 MW) have made some progress in environmental
permitting but are stuck in lengthy planning disputes, Assocarboni said.
The price differential between Europe's cheapest (Germany) and most
expensive (Italy) wholesale power markets is around 50% at present. On
November 16, Platts assessed German Calendar 13 baseload power at
Eur46.90-47.20/MWh. Italian Calendar 13 baseload was assessed at
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