The energy supply, in Italy, has one of the highest costs in Europe and, thus, in the World.
Urban settlements are very little concentrated in the territory and primarily consist of low quality buildings built in the sixties and seventies, this leads to a very low energy efficiency of the existing buildings and pollution due to vehicular traffic of the population that moves in the home-work trip.
The need, therefore, to employ energy more efficiently, to reduce pollution and, simultaneously, to locate new sources of energy, has led to the development of investment and technologies for the production of energy from renewable sources.
Since a good part of Italian territory is hardly cultivable, because in mountainous territory, but it is covered by forests or the Mediterranean, the maintenance of these areas allows to collect combustible material, which is used to fuel biomass power plants; in Italy, in fact, there are some of the largest power plants of this type in Europe.
The Research and, then, the industrial application of biomass has roots in the agronomic industry, with the development of agricultural production devoted not only to the use of energy, but also to the agro-industrial use, according to guidelines that have sought the balance between production of food and non-food and cultivation techniques that help the rebalancing of soil.
These productions are mainly used for the production of biogas, biofuels (bioethanol and biodiesel) and fiber; it is in this field that Italy reached excellent results, so much that the actual first commercial patents of second-generation biofuels, both for biodiesel and for bioethanol, are Italian..
Even the use of geothermal energy is particularly developed in Italy, the Larderello plant produces 10% of World geothermal energy, with a total of 4800 GWh per year; the power plant, exploiting the steam coming from the subsoil, feeds the electric turbines. Other methods developed to exploit geothermal energy are based on the combined use of heat exchangers, immersed in surface aquifers, and heat pumps, which allow by far more efficient yields than the traditional systems of heating and cooling in the building complexes.