Electrification, a strategy for Europe

Electrification, a strategy for Europe

Eurelectric’s 2017 annual convention saw the announcement of the new priorities for the Presidency of the association to guide Europe towards electrification and the decarbonisation of the economy. Implementing this plan will be Francesco Starace, the Enel CEO who has recently been appointed the new president of the European association for the next two years.


Changing mentality, integrating sustainability into the decision-making processes for the industry, embracing the future, accelerating electrification and transforming the present, completing the integration of renewables in order to drive Europe’s energy transition towards a decarbonisation of the economy.

In Estoril in Portugal at the annual convention of Eurelectric, the association that represents 3,500 European companies from the electricity sector, including all aspects from power generation to markets, distribution networks, clients and environmental and sustainability issues, Enel CEO Francesco Starace was appointed the new president of the association. The convention was also the occasion for the new president to present the priorities of his two-year mandate, which aims to guide the European energy transition.


An (electric) shock for a new mentality

Electrification, digitalization, flexibility and a customer-centred approach are the words that best describe the transformations taking place in the European electricity sector, which is overturning the traditional models.

Electricity is becoming the most efficient, sustainable and competitive form of energy, offering ready solutions to face some of the most difficult challenges of our times: the decarbonisation of the economy, the reduction of pollution in cities, energy efficiency in transport and buildings.

“The electricity sector is experiencing an unprecedented transformation that is being driven by technological innovation, decentralization and a shift towards a greener economy”

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO and President of Eurelectric

In order to succeed in the challenges that lie ahead, a new vision is necessary that places sustainability at the heart of business in order to maximize the social and environmental value that electrification is capable of generating for society and the fair and inclusive growth outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

Flexibility is a fundamental condition for accepting change, as is an openness to creating synergies with technology, customers, cities, communities and other industrial sectors such as the automotive industry, construction and IT and communications; cooperating in order to create value beyond the traditional confines of the electricity industry.


Accelerating and innovating

In order to create long-term value for utilities and for Europe, it is necessary to begin by reinforcing the synergies across the value chain and establishing market regulations that enable investment in the medium to long term.

“I will endeavour to commit all of the main stakeholders in the sector to making the electricity industry a key motor of European energy policy in order to meet the great challenges of the energy transition”

Francesco Starace, Enel CEO and President of Eurelectric

With this in mind it is fundamental to accelerate and extend electrification, in particular in the transport sector by encouraging greater use of electric cars, and also in climate control systems for buildings. This represents a necessary step towards constructing a future with reduced CO2 emissions and fulfilling the commitments made in the Paris Climate Agreement.

In the same way, in order to ensure the competitiveness of the electricity industry, it is crucial to innovate, building new cross-sectorial business models and establishing a solid framework for the aggregation of services, energy transactions, peer-to-peer negotiations and new services that enable the active participation of customers in the energy sector.

Digitalization, distributed generation and technological evolution are reshaping the role of utilities and consumers, with unprecedented levels of interaction.


Painting the present green

The role of fossil fuel thermoelectric power stations is still important in many European countries, in spite of the fact that in recent years renewables have changed the dynamics in electricity markets.

Therefore, there is now a greater requirement to work towards an increased integration of renewables, accelerating the restructuring of markets all over Europe, driving integration on a national level, increasing the quality and variety of services, the flexibility and security of supply, providing those in the sector with a solid framework to plan investments.

The energy transition towards a sustainable model centred on an increased penetration of renewables, thanks to the digitalization of networks and the development of innovative storage systems, is now unstoppable.

The moment has arrived to roll up our sleeves and accept the challenge of leading the decarbonisation of the European economy, developing sustainable and inclusive solutions in collaboration with European institutions, nation states, investors, communities and workers.

The European electricity industry has the tools and the energy to succeed and a unique opportunity to make a difference.