The average annual production of electric power in Italy is about 53.5 GWh, ranking it fourth highest in Europe. Electricity production from hydropower accounted for almost 13% of the national total in 2017.
There are a total of 4,274 hydropower plants in operation, of which 460 have an output of more than 30 MW and more than 3,000 less than 1 MW. Most hydroelectric plants are found in the mountainous north of the country, which is blessed with an abundance of water. The bulk of the nation’s hydropower capacity was installed before 1975. Since then, while there have been no major new installations, electricity demand has nonetheless increased significantly. Most of this new demand has been met by growth in the use of fossil-fueled generation capacity, which is the main source of electricity production today. However, the share of renewables, such as wind and solar, is growing.
Italy has set an ambitious target to raise the share of total electricity consumption generated from renewable energy sources to 55% by 2030. This goal can only be achieved with additional installed renewable energy capacity estimated at some 40 GW. A national energy strategy aims to see all coal-fired plants decommissioned by 2025 and for renewables to increase to meet the resulting loss of capacity. New initiatives to support renewables, mainly focusing on small and mini hydro, are expected to further boost sustainable growth and improve grid stability.