My, how have you grown, electricity market!

Negli ultimi anni, il mercato elettrico è cambiato molto. Capire come e per quali motivi (attraverso i dati) è fondamentale per affrontare le sfide future della transizione energetica.

It is often difficult to understand how much something has changed over time, unless we pause for a moment to look at the past with a more analytical eye.

If we apply this to the electricity market, we can see how Italy's relationship with electricity evolved over the last century and get a snapshot of Italy's history and development, thanks to the data collected by the Terna Statistics Office, compiled through a long series of historical sources.


Take electricity demand in Italy, for example. Demand remained very low until the beginning of the 20th Century, when it slowly started to increase until the immediate post-war contraction, to then explode in the economic boom years, the miracle that boosted Italy to become one of the most developed economies in the world. Since then, energy demand has continued to increase year on year, except for the recent downturn with the economic crises in the West.

How has this demand been met? Historically, our country tackled energy demand through traditional thermoelectric sources which, in fact, underwent a surge that mirrored the surge in energy demand over time.


Hydroelectric sources, on the other hand, developed at a slow pace, until levelling out at 50,000 GWh, with a peak of 60,256 in 2014 (geothermal power production is growing even more slowly).

By the end of the 2000s renewable energy production from renewable solar and wind energy sources grew exponentially thanks to technological advances and government incentives promoting the installation of solar panels.

From the early 1960s to the late 1980s, there was also a brief interlude of nuclear power. In fact, Italy had four active nuclear power stations in that period (in the municipalities of Caorso, Latina, Sessa Aurunca and Trino), which, at their peak, produced 8,758 GWh.

New challenges await our electricity market. The energy transition process has already begun; with the decarbonisation objectives established through international agreements we can expect to see renewable energy continue to rise over the years, with a simultaneous decrease in the use of conventional thermal sources such as oil and natural gas.