Electricity prices in selected countries in 2015
Electricity prices by country can vary widely and even within a country itself, depending on factors like infrastructure and geography. Among developed countries, Sweden enjoys some of the cheapest electricity prices in the world. For global electricity prices, Italy topped the list of countries with the highest electricity prices worldwide in 2015. Italian customers were charged around 15.7 U.S. dollar cents per kilowatt hour plus value added tax.
The selection of fuels used to generate electricity remains a main driver behind Italy’s high electricity prices. There are no nuclear power plants in the country. Due to the fact that Italy is located in a seismically active area, all nuclear power plants were closed following a popular referendum in the late 1980s, when an explosion in Chernobyl reminded Europeans of the dangers of nuclear power. As a result, the country’s electricity generation mix consists mainly of natural gas, renewable energy, petroleum products and coal. Although Italy has one of the largest proved natural gas reserves in Europe, the Mediterranean country produces very little natural gas and is heavily dependent on imports. The main source countries for Italian natural gas imports include Algeria, Russia and Libya. In light of political instability in the said countries, Italy might turn to producing more electricity from renewable energy sources, including hydropower, geothermal power and solar electricity. In 2014, Italy’s cumulative solar photovoltaic capacity reached 18.5 gigawatts, making it the fourth largest market for solar PV power.