Italy remains reliant on fossil fuels, with oil and natural gas benefiting from massive subsidies and tax breaks. However, it has massively ramped up its clean energy investment. Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the state has spent at least $4.36 billion (£3.7bn) on supporting the fossil fuel industry but allocated a whopping $49.10 billion (£41.3bn) to clean energies.
The Italian government has met past renewables targets, with 20% of its electricity emanating from clean sources in 2020, and has also launched a series of auctions to drive renewable power installations. In May last year, it began pushing through legislation to speed up the authorisation of new renewable energy projects.
But it's not all good news. Before the Russian war in Ukraine, Italy sourced 40% of its gas from Russia. By the second half of next year, the country aims to become independent from Russian resources and has backed EU proposals to ban Russian oil imports by the end of 2022. It's unlikely to be a smooth transition, however.
Despite Italy's clean energy investment, the sudden energy shortage has left the country on the brink of a "state of alert." If a state of alert is declared, Italy may introduce gas rationing, ramp up imports of gas from countries in North Africa, and potentially increase production at its coal plants.