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Italy supply security at risk from extreme weather – TSO

03 Feb 2023 10:08

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com

03 Feb 2023 10:08

(Montel) Italy’s security of supply could come under pressure in the coming years if imports dropped and extreme weather cycles increased, said the country’s TSO Terna in its annual report released late on Thursday.

In its analysis, Terna said the country’s power network could meet demand for the 2027-28 period and would not need additional capacity as long as weather conditions remained normal. 

However, if the country faced prolonged periods of drought, this would trigger peaks in power consumption for air conditioning. This, combined with a drop in thermal generation due to lack of water available to cool plants, would put the network’s security of supply at risk unless it received adequate imports at its northern border.

While these conditions were considered unlikely based on historical data, “they actually occurred in the summer of 2022”, the TSO said. 

Therefore, Terna said it would be important to identify solutions to improve generation in case of drought and if output dropped again in France. The country’s nuclear output hit a 33-year low last year. In 2022, Italy imported more than 4% of its power supply from France.

Network expansion
The TSO analysis considered the extra capacity contracted through the country’s capacity market auctions for 2022, 2023 and 2024 and the planned expansion of its electricity grid, as well as continued steady imports and current coal-powered plant availability.

In the longer term, from 2030-2032, Terna said the supply was secure thanks to the significant increase in renewable energy sources, battery storage capacity and further expansion of the grid.

Therefore, Italy’s plans to decommission coal and gas plants could remain on track, it said. However, it said the country still needed a mechanism capable of guaranteeing minimum levels of capacity to allow for the expected drop in fossil fuel generation.

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