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Wednesday, 12 August 20
THE COAL MARKET IN ITALY - ASSOCARBONI
assocarboniItaly, which in 2019 reported a decrease in thermal coal imports, with a volume of 7,5 million tons (-32% compared to 11 million tons in 2018), while metallurgical coal and PCI imports were stable at 3 million tons said ASSOCARBONI in its latest report.
 
ASSOCARBONI further noted that, coal phase-out should be progressive over time and closely connected to structural operations in the replacement production capacities and in the transmission, distribution and energy storage systems, in order to not compromise the competitiveness and safety of the Italian Electric System.
 
Moreover, from an environmental point of view, in a world which will continue to produce electricity from coal, the mentioned Italian phase out by 2025 will not benefit the climate change reduction, as CO2 emissions due to Italian coal-fired plants account for 0.04% of the global CO2 emissions. Although Italian plants have a minimal impact on the level of global pollution, their closing will represent a further unnecessary burden on the Italian industrial system, which will exclusively benefit foreign gas producers, such as Gazprom, the largest Russian company, or Sonatrach, the Algerian state energy company, operating on the market under oligopoly conditions. 
 
India and China, but also other Asian economies such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have based their national energy plans on coal and continue to plan coal-fired expansions using the best technologies available today.
 
In Europe, a country like Germany, that has always used very high percentages of coal to cover national energy needs, is preparing for coal phase out over a longer time than in Italy: in the next twenty years, only the older plants will gradually be closed, while the most efficient power plants will remain in operation and will be dismissed by 2038. However, this program will have a considerable cost, estimated in a 40 billion euros’ compensation for the loss of about 20 thousand jobs and promote the conversion of the plants.
 
The goal of the energy transition towards a zero-emission world by 2050 brings with it very high costs: it is estimated that the climate mitigation agreed in Paris in 2015 is worth 4.500 trillion dollars globally: the most expensive international agreement in history. In the European Union alone, it could carry an average annual cost of 1.4 trillion dollars.
 
In conclusion, we believe that the Italian electricity system should increase the share of renewables and we hope that the Country will be able to correctly deal with the gradual procedures for plants closure, as has already done in other European countries, which although aware of the need to face an energy transition still recognize as valid the reasons that led to the construction of coal power plants: security of supply, safety and cost effectiveness, guidelines that together with the environment constitute the foundations of energy policy.

ASSOCARBONI the Italian Association of coal operators  is a non-profit organisation founded in 1897, which represents national and international companies engaged in solid fuels. Its head office is in Rome and it has representative offices in London and Brussels. 


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