MILANO – The word “rationing” is no longer a taboo. With the price of gas continuing to update records (yesterday it closed at 276 euros per megawatt hour at the Ttf in Amsterdam, European reference, this morning it was already starting again above 290), a victim of the Moscow tension strategy and the new prospect of stopping flows in the North Stream 1 from Gazprom, in order to prepare for a winter that promises to be very tense in Europe, the last possible remedy is being dealt with: cutting the consumption of households and businesses. France moved in July, Germany targeted cuts for 15-20% of consumption. In Italy, the bulk would start with the third level of alert envisaged already in the spring by the government’s reaction plan, in the event of a stop to Russian flows which are still worth 10 billion cubic meters, despite the sharp reduction achieved thanks to the diversification of sources with Algeria which is now our first supplier.
Dear energy, here are the household appliances that consume the most electricity. And how to save
by Federico Formica
Gas in Italy: where it comes from and where it ends up
If there is a need to cut, where can we intervene? Some official data and reports first of all help to understand where the gas used in Italy comes from and in which areas it is used. According to Annual report on the national energy situation that Mite published last month, in 2021 gas consumption in Italy reached 76 billion cubic meters, up thanks to the post-Covid restart from 71 billion in 2020.
Last year gas exports to European countries also increased, from 0.35 to 1.54 billion cubic meters.
To cover both domestic demand and these flows to other countries, imports via gas pipeline and LNG have made the predominant part: 96%, against 4% of national production. Il Mite publishes a monthly balance sheet of natural gas in Italy, which allows you to see how the situation is moving with a glance up to June 2022. The picture for this year:
|Natural gas balance
|I vary. % su 2021
|per point of entry
|MAZARA DEL VALLO
|Gross Domestic Consumption
Source: Monthly balance of natural gas in Italy, Mite
To unpack the use of gas in Italy, let’s go back to the 2021 Report. We see that after the easing of lockdowns, all sectors recorded an increase last year: the civil sector went from 27.6 to 30, 2 billion cubic meters with an increase of 2.6 billion cubic meters (+ 9.3%). Both the component grows Residential than that of the Tertiary sector, for two reasons: a colder winter than in 2021 and a recovery in the service sector after the 2020 thud due to Covid. In the domestic sector, an Enea study on the possible savings that can be achieved allows for a further level of detail: 15.4 billion cubic meters for heating, 6.4 billion for hot water and cooking.
Generally speaking, one hundred gas consumption in Italy, the domestic and service sectors and electricity generation absorb 40% and the remaining 20% goes to industry. Our electricity generation is heavily dependent on gas, unlike countries like France and Spain which rely on nuclear power, or Germany and Poland which have more coal available. A situation which, moreover, this year has been exacerbated by the Drought which has reduced hydroelectricity, a traditionally important source for our country, to a minimum. As for the domestic demand, however, there is the greatest seasonality. In winter this item weighs twice as much as in summer: which is why in these days, despite all the problems with the supply from Russia, we are able to store gas; but on the other hand it is the reason for concern about the cold season.
The industrial sectors that absorb the most gas
Last year, with the post-pandemic economic boom, there was also a strong recovery in demand for gas for direct industrial uses, which was close to + 10%. If we look at the consumption of the main sectors directly connected to the Snam network, it can be seen that from 2015 to date the withdrawals have stood at around 13 billion cubic meters per year (also including the volumes of non-energy uses of cogeneration and the consumption of energy system). Net of the August break, the withdrawal of gas from the industry fluctuates between 1 and 1.3 billion per month.
Ideas for cutting electricity consumption
The government plan has already foreseen some interventions, for example on the temperatures in public offices that cannot rise above 19 degrees in winter or fall below 27 in summer. The next level of emergency involves a further squeeze: temperatures down by two degrees and reduced switch-on times for heaters, reduction of public lighting up to -40%, early closure of public offices, shops (at 7pm) and clubs (at 11pm).
Gas, the strategies for the winter: lighter bills of 180 euros with one degree less inside the house
by Federico Formica
An Enea study in mid-July indicated a series of savings achievable both by law and by adapting one’s behavior. Acting only on the voice of the heating, for example, lowering the thermostats by 1 degree (to 19 degrees), reducing the ignition of the systems by one hour a day and the operating period by 15 days could save about 2.7 billion cubic meters of gas ( 1.65 billion from the decrease of 1 ° C and 550 million from the reduction of one hour per day). Moreover, with a saving of almost 180 euros per family. Consumption styles can do even more. Enea always calculated that the use of heat pumps already installed for summer air conditioning also for winter heating, the reduction in the use of gas for domestic hot water and cooking, the lower consumption of electricity thanks to a better use of household appliances can lead to savings of 3.6 billion cubic meters per year. And another 400 million in savings can come by replacing appliances, air conditioners and lighting with the most up-to-date models.
Even businesses could be called upon to do their part, starting with those that eat the most energy.