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Phisical energy flows (PEFA) - Years 2008-2020

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On 19 December 2022, Istat releases the time series 2008-2020 on Physical Energy Flow Accounts (Pefa) of Italian economy, expressed in terajoule (tj), on its data warehouse (“National Accounts” theme, “Environmental Accounts” sub-theme, “Physical Energy Flow Accounts (PEFA)” section).

Pefa allows analyzing in detail the energy metabolism of the socio-economic system and the interactions between natural system and anthropic system regarding supply, transformation and use of energy. It provides a complete representation (consistent with the system of national economic accounts) of energy flowing from environment to economy, within the economy and from economy to environment, distinguishing natural energy input, energy products and energy residues. For each energy flow, origin (supply) and destination (demand) are recorded, distinct for economic activities, households, accumulation,  rest of the world and environment, using a matrix scheme based on the structure of  Supply-Use tables of monetary National accounts.

With this edition, the estimates of energy flows for the year 2020 are released ex novo and those for the years 2014-2019 are updated. Compared to the previous edition, the following changes have been introduced:

  • inclusion of “ambient heat (heat pumps)” – starting from 2017;
  • revision of household consumption breakdown among “heating/cooling” and “other” items – starting from 2014;
  • revision, for some energy products, of production and consumption breakdown among economic activities, following updates to basic data;
  • introduction of own-use of energy products;
  • inclusion of indicators “energy intensity of value added” and “CO2 emission intensity of energy consumption”.

In 2020, year characterized by pandemic crisis, the energy flowing into the national economy amounted to 7.6 million terajoules (-10.3% compared with 2019), of which 19.4% is made up of energy withdrawals from the Italian natural environment (+2.4% compared with the previous year) and 80.6% from imports of energy products (-12.9% compared to 2019). On the other hand, the energy flowing out the national economic system is 7.4 million terajoules (-9.5% compared to 2019) of which 16.8% is made up of exports of energy products (-11.9%) and 83.2% from returns to the natural environment in the form of degraded and no longer usable energy (-9.1%). The difference between the flows of energy into and out of the national economy represents the net accumulation of energy in the economic system.

The total energy consumption of the resident units (Net domestic energy use – NDEU) in 2020 is 6.5 million terajoules (8.8% less than in 2019):

  • 6% is attributable to households (for own account transport, heating and cooling, hot water and kitchen use, lighting and household appliances) and the remaining part to production activities;
  • 5% is for non-energy purposes (NDEU_non energy); it is energy used to produce non-energy products (e.g plastic, bitumen, etc.) or to lubricate gears;
  • 1% comes from renewable energy sources, but only 15.2% can be considered “modern” renewable consumption (considering only consumption for energy purposes – NDEU_energy – these percentages rise to 20.0% and 15.9% respectively);
  • 9% depends on combustion processes (air emission-relevant use of energy flows; 9.9% less than in 2019).

Pefa data are – by construction – comparable with economic data of National Accounts, resulting particularly suitable to using in integrated environmental and economic analysis. In 2020, the “Energy intensity of GDP” indicator (calculated as ratio between NDEU_energy and GDP) increased by 0.3% compared to 2019, reaching 4.1 terajoules per million euro of GDP (in chain linked values with reference year 2015).

For more information, please refer to the metadata.

Data are released on both I.Stat and IstatData (the new aggregate data dissemination platform that will gradually replace the I.Stat data access system; until the data transfer is completed, the two systems will coexist).


For information

Central Direction of National Accounts

Giusy Vetrella
tel. 06 4673 3236

Silvia Zannoni
tel. 06 4673 3109

Reference period: Years 2008-2020

Date of Issue: 19 December 2022


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