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Francesco Starace at the Politecnico di Torino

Franscesco Starace’s speech at the Polytechnic University of Turin

The development and the importance of the ongoing energy transition were at the heart of Enel CEO Francesco Starace’s speech during the event held on 6 March at the Polytechnic University of Turin on the topic of “Building the future”, a series of conferences that Piero Angela created to give an insight to future managers about the world that awaits them. 

The efforts in sustainability that we are making at Enel are twofold: to explain the transition and the role everyone has to play in this respect, and to bring electricity and the ability to understand the phenomena surrounding electricity to those parts of the world where it is not yet present

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO

Talking to students from high schools and technical institutes, as well as those from the Polytechnic University of Turin, Francesco Starace outlined the current energy situation, focussing in particular on the challenges that will be faced in the next few years. Starace highlighted the fundamental changes occurring in the sector today, identifying four main trends. Firstly, he spoke about increasing urbanisation, which will result in approximately 6.3 billion people living in cities by 2050. Starace also mentioned decarbonisation that is progressing at a rate of knots, with over 175 GW of new renewable energy capacity installed in 2017: the goal is to triple the penetration of renewable energy in electricity generation for 2040, reaching 60% on a global level.

The electrification of modes of transport was also noted, which according to Starace, “provides an optimum performance in terms of both CO2 emissions and eliminating local pollutants”. In this field, the prospects seem to be promising: it is estimated that electric vehicle sales will overtake those of internal combustion vehicles in 2040. The final trend discussed was the growth in energy demands. “Over the course of the next 25 years, electricity consumption will continue to increase by over 50%, driven by population growth and the electrification of final energy consumption”. To demonstrate this, Starace cited some figures relating to investments in digital technologies, that in the 2014-2016 period increased by 20% annually, surpassing global investments in electricity generation using gas. In his speech, Starace moved on to stress that new technologies have changed consumer behaviour. This has made it necessary to identify new business models, as Enel is already doing.

Finally, Starace answered questions from the audience, further reiterating that Enel’s commitment to sustainability is twofold: it is not just a case of encouraging the spread of a culture of energy transition, but also the commitment to “bringing electricity and the ability to understand the phenomena surrounding electricity to those parts of the world where it is not yet present”.

Enel editorial staff