The technological evolution is taking electric energy to many sectors. This enables the use of energy in an increasingly efficient way, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
This was underlined by Enel CEO and General Manager, Francesco Starace, speaking on 20 September at Columbia University in New York at the Low-Emissions Solutions Conference (LESC), an initiative that was one of the events promoted as part of Climate Week that began on 18 September in the Big Apple just a few weeks ahead of the UN conference COP23 in Bonn in Germany and scheduled for the 6-17 November.
In his keynote speech on the topic of “the road towards zero emissions: the vision for the future of the energy industry”, our CEO highlighted the profound changes that are being experienced in the energy industry and the great opportunities that this transformation offers in order to make the use of energy increasingly sustainable.
Francesco Starace continued by observing that GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and energy consumption have always been linked: when one rose, the other increased, so much so that increased energy consumption has always been considered a positive indicator and a result of GDP growth. In the last five years, however, even considering the notable indications of recovery in the global economy, a rather different trend can be observed: there are signs that today the same things can be done in a more efficient way. This will profoundly alter our economies and the relationship between GDP and energy.
The Enel CEO explained that this phenomenon is particularly evident if we look at the emerging economies. These already have a level of efficiency in line with that of the more developed countries. In this context, the developments in, and the reduction of costs of, renewable energy enable the production of electricity without producing emissions of greenhouse gas. In this way renewables, together with the digitalization and electrification of industrial processes and sectors with high levels of emissions, such as transport, assume a key role for the attainment of the goals defined in the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Francesco Starace highlighted how electrification and renewable energy represent a fantastic opportunity to redraw the energy industry, shifting towards low emission production. This pathway will lead the energy sector to look realistically at the possibility of abandoning the use of fossil fuels, in a process of the decarbonization of the generation mix by targeting the total elimination of greenhouse gas emissions.
The use of electricity as a priority and sustainable form of energy will become increasingly strategic and will open up new scenarios for development and growth, following the main trends in technological innovation that are also influencing the energy sector both directly and indirectly. On one hand customers are already digitalized, on the other, digital instruments such as sensors and Big Data are becoming part of the energy infrastructure. Also the engineering of materials is undergoing an incredible evolution: components are becoming lighter, cheaper, more efficient and more durable and require ever less maintenance. Furthermore, in the coming years we are headed towards the emergence of a new generation of electric vehicles, which are cheaper and more widespread, a transformation that will continue over the next ten years.
This change should be supported, Francesco Starace explained, identifying today the sustainable solutions to transform our society into a society that produces electricity without creating greenhouse gas emissions.
It is with this vision that our company has designed its own growth strategy, focusing on renewables, digitalization and the creation of shared value in order to encourage the transition towards an emission free economy. And today the technology is offering us the great possibility to gradually replace the thermoelectric capacity with new renewable energies that are already competitive on an economic level and that represent the only technology that produces zero emissions.