Italy's renewable energy capacity increased 11 per cent last year to 26,500MW, according to government figures released yesterday which reveal that renewable energy sources accounted for almost a fifth of total power consumption last year.
The State Energy Management Agency said that 19 per cent of energy came from renewable sources, putting the country on track to meet its EU target of generating 26 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020.
The increase in capacity was driven in large part by a surge in new wind farms, which saw wind energy capacity increase nearly 40 per cent in a year.
Wind is now the second-largest renewable energy source in the country, trailing only hydroelectricity.
However, solar energy enjoyed the biggest increase in capacity, with installations more than doubling to 71,288 and total capacity increasing 165 per cent to 1,144MW. The country's boom in solar installations has been driven by some of the most generous incentives in Europe, which have attracted many solar developers to the country.
The figures will be seized upon by the renewable energy industry as further evidence that some of Europe's largest economies are rapidly reducing their reliance on carbon-intensive power stations.
Germany remains the largest producer of renewable energy in the EU, but Spain and Portugal have both this year reported days when they have generated more than half their energy from renewable sources. Meanwhile, a recent EU report confirmed the vast majority of EU states are on track to meet targets that will see 20 per cent of European energy sourced from renewables by 2020.
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