“Disruptive, green and positive for the economy and society,” was how Francesco Starace described the “new industrial revolution” that is currently underway in an article published in La Repubblica’s weekly supplement Affari&Finanza. The Enel CEO began with the results of the Decarbonisation Pathways study promoted by Eurelectric – the European association of electricity producers, of which he is the President – which showed that electricity can become the motor for economic growth and the wellbeing of citizens.
We must act now: it is the only way that Europe will be able to assert its own technological leadership and benefit from renewed economic growth, confirming its role as a global champion in the fight against climate change
Francesco Starace, Enel CEO
“The energy transformation that is currently underway in the electricity production sector is experiencing a progressive and unstoppable replacement of fossil fuels with systems that generate energy from renewable sources,” observed Mr Starace, emphasising how that process, which is partially the result of the growing competitiveness of these new technologies, can contribute to reducing the average price of electricity produced, also making it less sensitive to fluctuations in oil prices. “Today, European electricity is already the ‘cleanest’ in the world with 56 per cent generated carbon-free,” the Enel CEO pointed out, reporting that for several days in 2018 renewable production in Germany exceeded production from any other source, while in Portugal it covered more than 100 per cent of the local demand. In Italy, however, the European objectives for the penetration of renewals by 2020 were surpassed some time ago. “Looking forward, the forecast is that, on the basis of the current regulations and directives, European electrical energy generation from carbon-free sources could reach 76 per cent by 2030.”
Mr Starace explained that consequently, thanks to renewables, the spread in the use of electricity can now enable us to decarbonise our economy. “Eurelectric predicts that in 2050 more than 60 per cent of consumption will be covered by electricity, compared with 22 per cent at present.” But in order to accelerate this process, according to the association’s President, it is necessary to act quickly on three fronts. Electrifying transport is the first: “Technological development will quickly reduce the cost of electric vehicles in comparison to internal combustion vehicles, to the extent that Eurelectric is talking about electricity having a 60-65 per cent share in the sector by the end of 2050, thus making cities more liveable through the reduction of noise and environmental pollution.” The second: “Using electricity more in air conditioning and heating for buildings, until it covers 60-65 per cent of the energy requirement (compared with 34 per cent at present).” And the third: “Intervening in the industrial sector directly by electrifying up to 50 per cent of production processes, compared with 33 per cent today.”
According to Mr Starace, when combined with the widespread adoption of renewables and interventions for energy efficiency, these measures will make it possible to achieve numerous advantages: savings for consumers and businesses, a drastic reduction in the European energy dependency and growth in employment and investment due to the need to electrify industrial processes. What is needed right now, according to the Eurelectric President, is proper regulation and greater alignment between countries. “We must act now,” Starace stressed, “it is the only way that Europe will be able to assert its own technological leadership and benefit from renewed economic growth, confirming its role as a global champion in the fight against climate change”.
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Enel editorial staff