The QualEnergia Forum, Italy accelerates the energy revolution

Published on Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Renewable energy can guide Italy’s national climate change policies. This would help the country achieve the new European clean energy (directive RED II) and decarbonisation to 2050 targets being developed by the European Union with the aim of drawing up a long-term climate strategy. This would also give a boost to the Italian system in terms of both jobs and the transition towards an economy with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

This is the situation outlined at the 11th QualEnergia (“WhichEnergy”) Forum. The subject of the Forum, which took place in Rome on 27 and 28 November, was “+1,5 °C. Accelerating the energy revolution”. The two-day event featured discussions with representatives of institutions, companies, the civil service and the research sector, and it was designed to focus attention on climate change, energy efficiency and developing renewable sources.

The Forum opened with a session on the Climate Energy Plan. Edoardo Zanchini, Vice-President of the environmental organisation Legambiente, pointed out in his introduction to the debate that Italy must present an initial version of this strategy by the end of 2018. The strategy must define the trajectory of the objectives and policies to 2030 in the context of a long-term drive to decarbonise the economy by 2050, as set out in the new European Directives. Enel’s Head of Country Italy, Carlo Tamburi, took part in the discussion.

“We regard the targets for complete decarbonisation by 2050 as feasible, and they could be a source for development for our country,” said Tamburi, referring to the European Parliament’s recent proposal to increase cuts in climate-altering emissions from 40% to 55% in 2030. This proposal led 10 countries, including Italy, to define a clear European initiative to eliminate net emissions by 2050.

Our company believes these targets can provide significant growth opportunities for Italy’s industrial system, because they can stimulate investment throughout the sector. Another key point in this scenario is the role of the final consumer, who should be placed at the centre and become a player in energy transition through the instruments provided by technological developments and digitalisation.

Jørn Bang Andersen, Trade Commissioner of the Danish Embassy Trade Council in Italy, spoke during the QualEnergia Forum’s opening session. He described the progress made by his country towards achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030 and total freedom from fossil fuel use by 2050.

The debate, which was chaired by Tg1 (Italy’s main news TV programme) journalist Marco Frittella, also featured Giacomo Donnini, Head of Strategy, Development and Dispatching for Terna, Marco Margheri, Vice-President of Elettricità Futura (“The Electricity of the Future”), Gianni Silvestrini, Scientific Director of QualEnergia and the Kyoto Club, and Tommaso Barbetti, Founding Partner of the eLeMeNS agency, who presented a study called “Climate Energy Plan – Roadmap and policy.”

The study, which was commissioned by Legambiente, outlines a possible road map for the Climate Energy Plan. The results show that a reduction of 55% by 2030 could benefit Italy’s competitiveness, generating an additional 5.5 billion euro a year with the move away from combustibles, even taking into account the reduction in revenue, and the creation of 2.7 million new jobs. This would be made possible by reducing both imports of fossil fuels and energy consumption, with added health benefits.

The first day of the Forum ended with the presentation of Legambiente’s dossier, “Comuni Rinnovabili 2018 (“Renewable Towns and Cities”), which provided an updated look at renewable energy sources in Italy. The research highlighted how the production of renewable sources has grown by over 50 TWh in a decade. This has disrupted the model based on fossil sources, with the proportion of green energy rising from 15% to 34.4% of electricity consumption and from 7% to 17.7% of overall consumption. These significant results could be a stimulus to reaching the most ambitious targets for 2030 to combat climate change and create a positive outlook for the environment and economy.

This scenario is entirely in line with our company’s industrial strategy, which was outlined in the Industrial plan 2019-2021 presented to the financial community on 21 November in Milan. 

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