Just E-volution 2030, the “just” energy transition

Published on Friday, 13 September 2019

“It’s vital that the benefits of the energy transition are shared fairly, accompanied by wide-ranging measures involving the climate, energy, the environment, industry and society. We are looking at an opportunity that will lead to the creation of jobs and the development of new skills through long-term investment”

– Francesco Starace, Enel CEO and General Manager

De Molli reminded the audience of the words by EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen when she spoke to the European parliament – by 2050 Europe must become the world’s first climate-neutral continent, and the EU institutions are committed to ensuring a “just for all” energy transition.

“In this context”, added the CEO of TEHA, “electricity has the potential to become the energy vector of the future, supporting the energy transition that is taking place.”

In line with “Just E-volution 2030”, facilitated by electrification the energy transition can provide a boost for industrial production and employment in Italy and Europe. On the basis of projections, by 2030 industrial production in Italy of the technologies associated with the electricity sector – in the different scenarios – could see a net increase of 14 to 23 billion euro (from 113 to 145 billion for the EU in general), with between 98,000 and 173,000 new jobs (and between 997,000 and around 1.4 million new jobs in Europe).

“We believe that the energy transition is vital for the future of our planet, but we also think that the process must be fair, taking everyone’s interests into account. ‘Just E-volution 2030’ shows that the transition will have a positive impact on the creation of value and jobs, and that’s a sign of Enel’s commitment”

– Patrizia Grieco, President of Enel

The energy transition is also facilitating the development of new digital services, from energy storage technology to Demand Response, Smart Network Management, sharing, Vehicle-to-Grid and domotics, with a positive impact on industrial production. The predictions made by the study, which could in fact be conservative, given the strong development in this sector, estimate this value at 65 billion euro in the EU, with 6 billion euro for Italy in 2030.

The engine of transition: electrification

The importance of the electricity vector as an enabling factor in the energy transition was emphasised by both Starace and De Molli.

“The ongoing penetration of electricity into the energy system will enable us to decarbonise the sectors that have historically produced the most pollution, while creating values in new ways, offering innovative services to consumers, who are playing an increasingly central role in the electricity system”

– Francesco Starace, Enel CEO and General Manager

As the study shows, when electricity is generated by a mix that includes a high proportion of renewables, the electricity vector leads to reductions in CO2 emissions and lower levels of pollutant emissions. Electrification of transport also reduces noise pollution, limiting stress-inducing factors and sleep disturbance. This leads to a lower risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. 

In general, the inclusion of renewables in the generating mix for electrification enhances the resilience and security of supply throughout the energy system, “A crucial factor for a country like Italy”, said De Molli.

Last but not least, digitalisation also means that electricity technologies offer improved performance in terms of energy efficiency and encourage innovation and sustainability in lifestyles and industrial processes while promoting the circular economy.  

Just transition - a shared objective

“We’re being presented with an opportunity”, said Starace, “and in order for it to become reality we must ensure that the energy transition is widely perceived as a benefit and not as a change that benefits some while damaging others.”

This opinion is shared by Enel President Patrizia Grieco, who sees Europe taking a fundamental role. “In terms of the environment and sustainable finance Enel is a “shaper and leader” and is making great efforts to implement policies involving a new type of governance.”

From this point of view, said De Molli, the research presented at the forum not only provides a quantitative assessment of the impact of the energy transition but also offers policymakers an agenda for actions to carry out in order to ensure a “just for all” transition.

The commitment to a just-for-all transition

“We need the same ambition and vision we’ve shown in environmental policies in order to make the passage to a zero-carbon economic system fully sustainable and inclusive,” said Starace in conclusion, recalling that, thanks to measures like the Clean Energy Package and the Mobility Package, Europe is now an energy policy benchmark for the entire world. Italy is also playing its part, with its commitment to drawing up the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan after having reached the European objectives for 2020 ahead of time. 

Enrico Giovannini, spokesperson for the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS) and member of the scientific committee for the study presented at Cernobbio, believes that Italian companies can be of great assistance in this respect. “Companies are playing an important role in the energy transition, realising that investing in sustainability is a good thing, but we still need a wider, more general change of mentality.”

All the speakers at the presentation did agree, however, that the future of this transformation process will depend above all on the effectiveness of the measures proposed by international bodies and governments

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