Italy sees sharpest fall in energy demand since WWII due to pandemic: Report
Italy's energy demand fell last year at the fastest rate since World War Two as a sharp drop in road and air traffic during the pandemic undercut oil consumption, a study showed on Thursday.
Italian energy and technology research centre ENEA said energy demand in the country slumped 10% last year, driven by a 60% fall in oil consumption.
"The fall in energy demand is the highest since 1943-44, when Italy was in the middle of World War Two," ENEA analyst Francesco Gracceva said.
At the time of the financial crisis in 2009 energy consumption fell by "only" 5.7%, he added.
ENEA gave no forecasts for whether the decline in demand would continue this year.
Severe coronavirus restrictions to contain surging infection rates weighed on energy demand across Europe last year as travel slowed to a trickle and industry cut back production. Italy has been one of the worst hit countries in Europe, with 98,635 deaths from Covid-19.
As energy demand fell, carbon emissions in Italy dropped by 12% last year to levels 40% below those of 2005, ENEA said, adding imports of low-carbon technology, especially electric and hybrid cars, jumped 27%.
The sharp fall in oil demand pushed the share of fossil fuels in Italy's energy mix to their lowest level since 1961 while gas remained the main energy source.
Electricity demand fell 5.3% for the year while power prices fell 15% for companies and 10% for consumers, ENEA said.
Thanks to the fall in overall energy consumption, the share of renewable energy rose to 20%, "data that allows Italy to beat the EU target of 17% set for 2020," it said.