Renewable energy is receiving strong support in Europe. Italy follows the same steps taken by Germany to reject nuclear energy after the disaster in Fukushima, which was one of the highlights of the Berlusconi government, a prime minister whose unpopularity grows every day.
Italian voters have discouraged the nuclear revival planned by referendum, approving a moratorium of one year with a 94.05% vote against nuclear power and a 54.79% stake.
At present, Italy imports electricity generated by French nuclear power company and Italian utility Enel SpA was in talks to build power the latest generation (Evolutionary Power Reactor), one of which, with a capacity of 1,650 MW would be built in Normandy.
The anti-nuclear referendum of 1987 and led to a real nuclear blackout in Italy after the Chernobyl disaster, but the Italian nuclear program resumed in 2009 at the behest of the French government, in response to the high cost of oil and natural gas.
The impact of yesterday’s referendum will not be immediate. The Berlusconi government has planned a 25% share of nuclear power by 2030, will build 10 new reactors. However, long term, “the portion of renewable generation will be much higher,” admitted Finance Minister Paolo Romani.
The current Italian plan for renewable energy by 2020 relies heavily on hydropower, followed by wind and biomass, all with a similar stake in the mix. The solar and geothermal have less prominence.
The current program will put Italy as the fifth largest European producer of renewable energy, according to a report of the European Wind Energy Association in March