By Liam Moloney

ROME--The Italian government Tuesday presented its new energy plan for consultation that aims to slash the country's bill on imported energy by 23% in 2020 and so reduce energy costs more in line with other European nations in a bid to make local goods more competitive.

The cabinet, following a meeting in Rome, said it approved a plan, which is now open to public consultation, that targets lowering the bill for imported energy by 14 billion euros ($18.1 billion) a year from 2020, from the current EUR62 billion, boost renewables, improve energy efficiency and boost Italian hydrocarbon output.

The new energy plan's main objective is "to reduce bills," said Industry Minister Corrado Passera at a press conference in Rome following the cabinet meeting.

Italy's last national energy plan was approved in 1988, almost 25 years ago.

The government said it expects to be able to define final objectives of the plan within two months. It estimates there will be total energy investments of EUR180 billion through 2020.

Italy's plan also forecasts a cut of 19% of carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 level, slightly more than the 18% it had agreed with its European Union partners, it added.

Write to Liam Moloney at

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