Once an ‘element of interference' in a system based on fossil fuels, large plants, centralised and unidirectional distribution, now a pioneer of change. Renewables have ‘imposed' a transformation of the energy sector's environmental and technological aspects but also its structure, the role of innovation and market organisation.
“We are the new energy”. This statement is often made by Enel Green Power CEO Francesco Venturini to underline the current role and responsibility of renewable companies within the energy scenario. In the initial phase of development, new renewables were considered an ‘element of interference’ within the model based on fossil fuels, large plants and a centralised and unidirectional distribution model. With the growth of megawatts, technological improvements and the definition of regulatory systems, the green wave of renewables has played an increasingly important role, no longer tagging along but, rather, promoting change, together with smart distribution networks and the widespread demand for sustainability and energy efficiency.
The transformation imposed by renewables does not only regard environmental and technological aspects of the energy generation process. In fact, the advent and gradual spread of green sources is contributing to achieve a radical change involving:
- the energy industry’s structure, business models and competitiveness, increasingly linked with the sinuous consumption trend and the need to adjust facilities and investments to the new scenario;
- the role of innovation, once useful for companies to stand out from competitors and now essential for them to remain on the market and the development of the segments of this sector, from generation to end use;
- the organisation of the electricity market in the definition of prices, as well as in the distribution scheme and system dynamics.
Energy efficiency and technological innovation are two decisive factors in the present scenario, and they owe a good deal of their ‘success’ to renewables. In fact, green sources on the one hand have acted as a spur and have been the answer to the increasing demand for sustainability and responsible use of energy resources, while on the other hand they have ‘forced’ the whole industry to renew, both by having to incorporate the RES into the consolidated energy scheme as well as having to compete with them in the race for technological development.