Ambrosetti Forum: a common governance for the energy transition

Published on Monday, 6 September 2021

“Improving governance is essential to setting in motion a virtuous cycle of investments that translate into opportunities for employment, infrastructure and improvements in people’s quality of life. The study that we have presented highlights the need to overcome the inefficiencies and bottlenecks holding back decarbonization and growth.”

– Michele Crisostomo, Enel Chairman

In Italy the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate (PNIEC) is yet to be revised in light of the “Fit for 55” policy package. “Estimates of Italy’s new targets for 2030 foresee a reduction of 43% in greenhouse gas emissions, a contribution of 37.9% from renewable energies and an increase in energy efficiency of 46.6%. However, taking into account Italy’s current rate of progress towards achieving these targets, it becomes apparent that there will be an average delay of 29 years, compared with 19 for Europe,” Valerio De Molli said.

Therefore, rapid change of direction is required; change that’s capable of enabling Italy and Europe to mobilize the investments required to make up for the lag that has built up over the years.

“Governance is a key factor for unleashing investments and ensuring a rapid, effective energy transition”

– Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager

The study revealed that governance of the energy transition in Europe must tackle three main questions: energy as a shared responsibility between member states and the EU; the growing need to implement a new system of “indirect” enforcement and the need to reinforce the new mechanism to manage the green targets. As far as Italy is concerned, the effectiveness of governance is related to five factors:

  • the fragmentation of competences between the various stakeholders at different levels
  • differences and discrepancies between different local regulations and the non-uniform application of laws at local level
  • the lack of commitment from local authorities, which undermines community involvement
  • inefficiencies of the technical administrative public bodies
  • fragmentation in sectoral policy design.

 

The proposals for fostering the transition

In order to overcome the aforementioned challenges, the study focused on various proposals, which were divided according to their respective spheres of action: European (in its two – internal and external – dimensions) and Italian. As far as the Italian sphere of action is concerned, the proposal is to simplify the authorization procedure for renewable energy plants and to promote interventions to boost energy efficiency. This in order to create a homogeneous and standardized mechanism for interaction between the local authorities on one hand and electricity distributors (Distribution System Operator, DSOs) on the other. The aim is also to encourage the development of charging infrastructure, and finally to promote the full integration of industrial districts and business clusters at local level, and of innovation ecosystems and energy communities with the national distribution grid.

“Achieving this goal will help us tackle the greatest challenge – and seize the greatest opportunity – of our times. Europe, and above all Italy, will emerge from this even stronger and undoubtedly in a leadership position at global level”

– Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager

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