"Coal-fired power plants may need to be reopened to fill any shortcomings immediately. The Government is ready to intervene to further calm down the price of energy, should this be necessary". This was stated by the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi less than one month ago, within a formal Italian Chamber of Deputies’ briefing, of course related to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
This is not an isolated news: shortly after, around 10 March 2022, several deputies and senators of the Italian Right filed a parliamentary question aimed at the reactivation of some Italian coal mines, in order to respond adequately to the increasingly noticeable Italian energy crisis, precisely because of the Ukrainian conflict, as well as to quickly find an alternative to Russian imported gas.
What would this mean? The coal mines examined are mainly those of Sardinia: the coal mine of Monte Sinni, in Sulcis, for example.
This extraction site is technically still in operation, but the extraction is already about to end (around 2027) in line with European directives.
The formal question to our Senate aims at the recognition of the status of "Strategic Carboniferous Reserve" and, consequently, at the continuation of coal exploitation for energy purposes well beyond the constraints already in force.
Is this however a way to go?
According to the Italian trade unions and trade organizations, no, it is neither possible nor useful.
The coal reserves and mines still in operation in Italy would not be even remotely sufficient to guarantee the country's energy supply. The structural lack of innovation, new technologies, personnel, infrastructures – for mining sites that are in fact intended to be already about to be dismantled – would also make a significant increase in the quantity of coal extracted in the short term extremely unlikely.