Energy shortages this winter…

As most people know, energy costs have always been high in Italy because it buys most of it’s energy from other countries. Always has. They have promoted sustainable energy and give big supplements for solar and there are a lot of wind farms. This is a drop in the bucket but better than nothing.

Thinking about heating in August seems pretty weird, I know. But there have been a number of articles and posts in the expat websites about the shortages of solid fuel already being reported. Most of us heat with gas. As anyone probably knows, the Russians control the gas that Italy buys so this is also problematic. Costs have always been three or four or more times higher than the rest of Europe. Now it is even worse because of the Ukrainian war. Not to mention the uncertainty of even having gas.

Many here in Umbria supplement their heat using wood or pellets. A lot use those as their primary heat source. There are systems that use pellets in their central heating systems. We also supplement with pellets to warm our living room.

This year pellets have become very expensive. They have nearly doubled in price, from €5.50 a bag to €9.50 a bag. IF you can even find a supplier who actually HAS them. Our pellets came from Austria. Ukraine also produced a lot. Now, it seems, Austria, afraid of shortages itself, is not exporting as usual. So, our future winter has become uncertain. We plan to buy some pellets since we will be here until the first of the year. If we can find a source.

We have not looked into firewood. Since we are nearing our move, we won’t be buying any yet. In our new house, we will have a need for firewood. There is an outdoor BBQ which uses wood, an outdoor wood fired pizza oven, a fireplace in the family room and a wood stove will be in the living room. I guess we will find out about firewood later.

The newspapers are warning of real problems this winter. It is hard for us, since we are moving, to try to make alternative plans to augment gas heating if we don’t have it. We cannot stockpile anything. It looks like we may have to bundle up!

6 thoughts on “Energy shortages this winter…

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Louann, not sure if we can install solar. I’m sure permissions will be necessary. I am pretty worried about heating, I do fear an uncomfortable winter.

  2. Louann Chapman

    Nancy, what are the opportunities in your new place for solar heating? We have all gas in our home in Ugento and our house has radiant heated floors heated by a gas water heater. We are seriously thinking about having a few panels installed on our rooftop to at least preheat the water. It would be an investment that would pay for itself in 5 years. We will be spending winter in Ugento starting mid-December through May, so no doubt we may need to pack our woolies!

  3. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Bill. I understand the dilemma. We also are dealing with the same. I am hoping the availability of pellets will return. But I don’t think the price will go down. In Italy it is a way of life to be cold in winter. I know that sounds weird, but businesses do not heat their offices and shops don’t heat their stores. Never have. Too expensive. Everyone stays bundled up. I advise bringing a lot of good insulating layers of clothing and warm slippers. Embrace the differences. We have lived this way for 8 years. This year promises to be a bit more of a challenge!

  4. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Matt. I guess we will see how it unfolds. If we weren’t moving we could prepare. But that is what is making it difficult. We still have a couple things we might try.

  5. Bill Maykowski

    We went to Italy last year for three months and are going in October for 3 months again. We will have a small apartment between Rome and Naples that we will heat with pellets. With pellets doubling in price and car rentals sky high, we are thing of staying a much shorter period of time. Any thoughts/comments of how we can manage this. We are both 74 yes old and are not rich people. Grazie!

  6. Matthew Daub

    Nancy – So sorry to hear this. Life seems to get more andmore complicated doesn’t it? Here’s hoping the hardships aren’t as great as they fear this winter . . .

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