“The world will be far more electric and subject to digitalization – and therefore more efficient – with a very low environmental impact”: the transition is “inevitable,” as Enel’s CEO and General Manager Francesco Starace pointed out on July 9 during his talk at “Repubblica delle Idee 2021.”“We are certainly at an inflection point, in which current events are accelerating and the transition to electricity is reaching such a speed that we can notice it,” the CEO explained, emphasizing that in the world of energy “a clash between fossil and electric sources has been going on for some time.” However, we are increasingly moving in the direction of electricity.
Despite some opposition, according to Starace, electric cars and electric public transport will be the factors causing cultural change. After all, as he observed, there was also opposition “to photovoltaic panel technology.” The issue concerns, for example, batteries and their environmental impact: “Batteries today are built to be transportable. This technology is evolving rapidly, with performances that seemed unthinkable just two or three years ago. In a few years, batteries will probably have a range of 1,000 kilometers (621.371 miles – ed.), and no stops will be required.” As regards recycling, it is important to know that this “is already possible” but, as long as costs are “higher than those needed for new materials, there is no comparison and new batteries will continue to be produced.”
“The world will be far more electric and subject to digitalization – and therefore more efficient – with a very low environmental impact. The transition is inevitable”
Francesco Starace, Enel CEO
In his interview with Fabio Bogo, Starace also spoke about the ability to meet the continuous increases in energy demand: “The point is not the availability of renewable resources for electricity needs, but how long it takes to build an infrastructure that’s capable of meeting this demand. The longer it takes, the more decarbonization is delayed.” Today, innovation is being developed with renewable energy “because it is a space where creativity has a wide range of usage, and no large capital is required”: in this perspective, especially “digitalization and the improvement of materials science” will be fundamental.
Industry in general is increasingly heading towards the transition: “Everyone is doing it, but some more than others. Let’s take into consideration what happened within my sector, that of energy production: even those who were most opposed have understood the need to put thermal technology aside.” With regard to electrification, in particular, Italy “has achieved important goals thanks to extensive incentives.” Then, “once the latter finished, there have been no further investments”: according to Starace, “Italy simply did too much at the beginning, now we need to enter into the real competition and start investing again.”
Enel editorial staff