In an interview with Affari&Finanza, Enel CEO Francesco Starace outlined the Group’s future: the investment in renewable energies and the disposal of the thermal power plants are the way forward in the coming years. However, this will take time: if the latest International Energy Agency report found that renewable sources have overtaken coal for energy generation worldwide, Starace explained that it would take between 15 and 20 years for them to take over. "We are faced with a continuous growth that takes us only in that direction - said Francesco Starace. As for investments made by oil companies in the renewable market, “they are still limited. But it is better that way and it makes sense: renewables are a mature industry, we cannot improvise." The CEO’s priority is therefore to understand market trends in order to avoid errors: and it applies to Enel as to any oil company willing to deal with the Green Economy.
Francesco Starace also discussed the Group energy efficiency targets: unlike the renewable sector, that of energy efficiency is still too fragmented, because a single technology has yet to prevail, and three or four different ones are presently applied for each area of intervention: "However, I think that with technological evolution, energy efficiency will penetrate society as by osmosis". The CEO argues that there is no longer correspondence between the growth of a country’s electricity demand and that of its GDP: "This connection no longer exists: beyond a certain threshold of the GDP, the energy demand decreases because companies outsource and technology improves." Energy efficiency is therefore "something that happens as a result", without a determining factor that imposes it, because a country’s increased wealth causes the growth of investment in research, the improvement of products and the drop of costs.
Finally, Francesco Starace described the utility companies of the future: the keyword is specialisation and "some will focus on the production of renewable, others on networks. Some will do it by choice, others because they are forced by the market". However, Starace clearly sees the path that Enel will follow, consisting in digitisation and distribution network control: "It seemed the least interesting part of the energy business, and yet it will lead to the next revolution after the one brought about by renewables. We absolutely believe in it, as clearly shown by the revision to our business plan".
Enel editorial staff