New leadership capable of guiding the energy transition of industry and the countries of the Old Continent towards victory in the fight against climate change. This essential priority for the Planet’s future was at the heart of the Power Summit 2019 organised by Eurelectric, the association for the European electricity sector that represents 3,500+ businesses from 32 different countries. This year’s meeting took place at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence on 20-21 May.
In his last speech as Eurelectric President, a role he has held since 2017, Enel CEO and General Manager Francesco Starace stressed that, “it is possible to achieve the sustainability goals thanks to technology and the contribution of European citizens.” “These have been two complicated and challenging years,” he continued, “and I am proud of having guided the association through a profound transformation, in which electrification and decarbonisation have become the watchwords in the sector.” Today Eurelectric is a cohesive organisation, increasingly aware of its role in the energy transition and capable of influencing choices in Europe, which is at the forefront worldwide in the fight against climate change thanks to the adoption of important policies ranging from the Clean Energy Package to the Mobility Package. “Europe’s institutions have listened to us, and we have enjoyed a constructive dialogue,” explained Starace, adding that in the future, “a key role will be played by the grids” as they become digitalised and adjust to incorporate the growing share of renewable energy from thousands of distributed plants.
The presidency of Eurelectric now passes to Magnus Hall, President and CEO of the Swedish power company Vattenfall. The handover also represents continuity, however. “Electrification is the main enabling factor for a carbon-neutral future in Europe, we want to work with political and industrial policy makers to accelerate the electrification of transport, heating and industry,” said Hall in his first speech as President to the 500+ participants at the Summit.
The audience included Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament, and Kristian Ruby, Eurelectric Secretary General, as well as numerous managers from the Enel Group, including Antonio Cammisecra, CEO of Enel Green Power, and Simone Mori, Head of European Affairs, Europe and North Africa and President of Elettricità Futura, who offered some insights into the situation in Italy.
“The challenge in Italy,” explained Cammisecra, “is to make the final consumers aware of the importance of the energy transition as part of the country’s contribution to the global fight. Therefore, not slowing down socio-economic development but, on the contrary, accelerating it through the use of smarter solutions that are more compatible with the environment: renewables and the electrification of consumption.”
Mori also believes that “the challenge is to take electricity, which is increasingly decarbonised, to the sectors that are still using it only in a limited way”. In fact, by 2030 “we will be producing between 50-55% of our electric energy from renewables,” he continued. “It’s clear that taking green energy to sectors like transport and heating is a top priority. We believe we’re on the right track.” The route in question is one in which development combines not only competitiveness and sustainability, but also collective well-being.