Italy forks out fresh six billion euros in energy aid
The Italian government has said it was forking out nearly 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in fresh aid to help households and firms buffeted by soaring energy bills.
The cabinet-approved package comes of top of some 10 billion euros already budgeted since last summer to shelter customers and businesses.
“We are putting nearly 8 billion euros on the table, including 6 billion in energy aid,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi told a news conference on Feb. 18.
The decree signed on Feb. 18 introduces measures to simplify and speed up the construction of renewable power plants, he said.
It includes 1 billion euros in support for the Italian automotive industry and less polluting vehicles, which Draghi said were “at the heart of the ecological transition.”
And will also see the government “intervene in a structural manner to increase Italian gas production.”
Italy, which has not produced nuclear energy for over three decades, is extremely dependent on imports and consumes a lot of gas.
Gas accounts for between 35-40 percent of its primary energy consumption, compared with around 15 percent in France, according to official statistics for both countries.
Natural gas prices have reached historic highs in recent months, sending electricity costs spiralling across Europe and pouring cold water on the economic post-pandemic recovery.