... then you may wish to read this demented story of Italian energy politics in the Telegraph: the contrast with the UK model could scarcely be greater.
Background: at the turn of the century it was clear beyond a doubt that both the UK and Italy would shortly be in need of significantly greater amounts of gas imports. In the UK, the market quietly worked its magic and, without a penny of public money or a mil of government direction, energy companies built new LNG import facilities (and indeed new pipelines from Norway and Holland) that provide as much in total delivery capacity as our indigenous (and rapidly declining) North Sea production did. Score one for the market.
The same market forces were only too willing to do the same for Italy, whose needs if anything are greater (being heavily dependent on Russian gas that must transit the Ukraine and is occasionally switched off when these two countries are in dispute, generally in mid-winter); but here's where we encounter a significant difference.
It's always possible to generate a scare-story about LNG import facilities (despite their having an exemplary world-wide safety record over 50 years), and in Italy, locals have essentially complete control over planning issues with no national-interest override, however strategic the issue. This in turn opens wide the door to small-town populist nonsense (to say nothing of bribery and corruption).
Perhaps Hatfield Girl, with her sharp Italian insights will explain further; or Raedwald will give us an account of the benefits of 'localism': but the bottom line is, an entirely responsible and economically sound LNG import project has been stopped dead in its tracks.
I have some personal knowledge about this one, and can report that BG (a blue chip company if ever there was one) was naive in its initial efforts on the project, and the senior management it deployed. By this, I categorically do NOT mean that they should have been distributing the brown envelopes more freely. Rather, they were the sort of project-focused individuals that engineers often are, not well-suited to assessing the human, political dynamics on the ground.
As such they were slow to realise what they were confronting. They assumed that the UK model would ultimately prevail, whereby whatever annoying local issues and delays arise, if the project is sound it will eventually get approved if you stick to your guns and appeal ever upwards in the planning hierarchy.
But not in Italy, which is now deprived of (1) a first-rate project and the inward investment it represented; (2) much-needed diversification of its gas supply; (3) any attractions it might previously have had for other inward investments. The Telegraph illustrates its story rather luridly with a picture of a noose, which may be going a bit far - but then again, there are probably Italians in government who would cheerfully strangle some of their compatriots over this one.
For all the Huhnile insanity we contend with in the UK energy sector, at least we are spared this nonsense.