Renewable energies to renew Europe

Renewable energies to renew Europe

Clean energy as the key to fight climate change and to drive Europe’s transition to a low-emission economy. The main themes of Enel CEO Francesco Starace’s speech at the High-level Conference on clean energy financing


More ambition, more courage. Renewable energy and energy efficiency can drive Europe towards achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. However, the countries of the EU must focus on a long-term strategy that can reward virtuous productive models and behaviour that results in lower CO2 emissions.

Europe’s large companies in the energy sector are ready to face the challenge. On the opening day of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bonn (Cop23), they launched a clear appeal to the European Commission: increase the 2030 objectives for the share of energy consumption from renewables in Europe, from the current goal of 27% of total energy consumption to a new target of 35%.

Enel signed the message together with other leading players from the sector, such as SSE, EnBW, EDP and Orsted.

More renewables, and more quickly: this is the way forward, also because Europe is a worldwide leader in terms of clean energy and it must continue to serve as a global reference point.

This was one of the themes at the centre of the High-level conference on clean energy financing at the EU Parliament in Brussels on 7 November, an appointment that included a speech by Enel CEO and General Manager Francesco Starace. The event was promoted by the President of the European Assembly Antonio Tajani ahead of the discussions relating to the “Clean Energy Package”, the proposal for a new European legislation to encourage the development of energy efficiency and clean energy.


A vision for renewables

Our CEO made his speech as part of the panel “Supporting the shift towards clean and efficient energy at the local level”, introduced by Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy Union, and chaired by Gerassimos Thomas, Deputy Director-General of the EU’s Directorate-General Energy (ENER) and President of the EFSI Steering Board. The panel focused on the initiatives to pursue in different EU countries in order to support the transition to clean energy.

Concerning renewable energies, Starace underlined that the Old Continent possesses “significant technological know-how and a great infrastructure.” In order to retain its global leadership and seize the opportunities for growth and job creation linked to the development of a low-emission economy, Europe must have “a long-term vision”. How? For example, by encouraging the definition of stable prices and contracts for the supply of energy from renewable sources (Power Purchase Agreements), like those that exist in other countries such as Chile. Initiatives of this type, added our CEO, “can cultivate a competitive terrain for renewable energies and kick-start investment in the sector.”


The green energy that is getting things moving

In order to rise to the challenges of the Paris Agreement, decarbonising the production of electricity by using renewable sources is not enough. The next step to take, according to Francesco Starace, is to begin the process of decarbonisation in every possible sector.

“Just as we are decarbonising the production of energy, today’s technology can enable us to do so also in other sectors, such as transport, which represents a quarter of CO2 emissions in Europe and a significant part of fuel imports”

Francesco Starace, CEO and General Manager of Enel

Electric mobility, the Enel CEO explained, represents a precious opportunity for the industry: also, the private sector must rise to the challenge of constructing the infrastructure necessary to encourage the development of low-emission transport. In the same way, for an effective policy to fight climate change, a decisive strategy to increase the energy efficiency of buildings is required. Innovation and new technology today enables us, in fact, to decarbonise diverse uses of energy, from cooking to heating systems.


Building a zero-emission Europe from the bottom up

In order to achieve this goal, European legislators must show the courage to set ambitious targets. Policies to encourage renewable energies and energy efficiency have already achieved notable success in Europe. “This demonstrates that the people know better than their lawmakers about the benefits that can be obtained from decarbonisation initiatives,” concluded our CEO.

In order to succeed there is no need for huge investment, but rather, precise targets, clear rules, decisive interventions and a strategy that involves all of Europe’s citizens from the bottom up, making them the protagonists in the fight against climate change. It is an enormous challenge and one that cannot be postponed, but success can be obtained with a policy based on big decisions and small steps that, on a global scale, make all the difference.