It is “a large-scale change that affects not only the energy industry, but industry at large”: not surprisingly, the EU has decided to accelerate in the renewable energy and the energy transition sectors, in order to overcome the crisis. Enel’s CEO and General Manager Francesco Starace confirmed this in an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe”: the emergency crisis impacted “this energy transformation” (although, according to the CEO, it would be more appropriate to call it “a transition rather than a transformation”), bringing forward what would have happened in the coming years and broadening the scope of the European Green Deal – a plan for the EU to reach climate neutrality by 2050 – which is today “a lifeline” out of the devastating impact of the pandemic.
“The transformation is inevitable. It is something that will happen anyway. The risk is that it happens turbulently or in a disorderly manner”
Francesco Starace, Enel CEO
The situation is therefore mixed because every change may result in threats and challenges, as Starace pointed out: “The transformation is inevitable. It is something that will happen anyway. The risk is that it happens turbulently or in a disorderly manner.” Furthermore, “not really taking into account all the consequences” or pushing change “in a way that creates problems for people or is unjust and creates inequalities” can produce negative effects.
These challenges also concern the world of work: according to Starace, there can be no sustainable transition without young people. It is “necessary to invest in the education of new generations, as well as to train people in large numbers”: this seems to be lacking today, especially in the energy sector. From this perspective, coordinated efforts at global level are essential, according to the CEO. These “efforts need to be implemented over the next ten years,” as “they are key to carrying out a sustainable transition in a non-turbulent way.”
Similarly, it is important that governments understand “the need to plan the transition in advance”: as Starace emphasized, such an epochal change does not happen overnight and cannot be driven solely by market forces, as these can turn out to be destructive.
Enel editorial staff