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Italy could abandon coal by 2024, environment minister says

06 Jun 2023


Italian Environment and Energy Security Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin walks, on the day of the first new cabinet meeting at Chigi Palace, in Rome, Italy October 23, 2022. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo

MILAN, June 5 (Reuters) - Italy could shut down its coal-fired power stations in 2024, a year earlier than planned, if gas prices remain at current low levels, Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin said on Monday.

Italy, which had to find an alternative for the gas it used to import from Russia following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, increased its production of energy from coal to 7.5% of the total last year, from 4.6% in 2021.

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"The intention is to abandon coal by 2025 or even earlier... I hope to succeed by 2024, if gas prices hold at the current (low) levels," Pichetto Fratin said at an event organised by La Repubblica newspaper.

Under its current plan for energy and climate (PNIEC), which is under review, the government targets an exit from coal in 2025.

The minister said that natural gas, which is considered the least polluting fossil fuel, should accompany Italy's energy transition path until 2050, while the country gradually increases its renewable energy capacity.