Energy transition is the watchword: in Italy, the recovery will be green
At the end of the nine-day General Meeting of the Italian Government at Villa Pamphilj (Rome), Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the three pillars that will provide the foundation for the Italy of the future: modernization, inclusivity and a robust energy transition. After months of the Covid-19 emergency upending the priorities of the political agenda, the topic has again become current.
With the January 2020 publication of the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan for 2021 to 2030, Italy already declared the beginning of a significant shift in the country’s energy and environmental policy, towards decarbonization. The main objectives are demanding:
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 40% (from 1990 levels);
- 30% increase in the share of renewable sources in gross end energy consumption, which translates to 55% of the electrical demand met by renewable generation;
- Improved energy efficiency by 43%.
Our sustainable energy in support of the Italian green recovery
At Enel Green Power, we’ve been working on bringing green energy to every corner of the planet since 2008. Italy is our home, the country where our roots are deep: more than 600 renewable plants throughout the peninsula bear the EGP logo, providing installed capacity of over 14 GW, about a third of our global capacity.
Our position as a global leader in the energy transition means we can offer our experience and operational excellence to help Italy’s green recovery. Enel Green Power’s renewable energy is ready to power the country’s recovery, as well as provide new development and employment opportunities: since the beginning of 2020, we’ve been awarded about 80 MW of capacity in the first GSE tender and 106.3 MW in the second – further confirmation of our sustainability pact with Italy.
Investing for a greener Italy
According to the latest “Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index” report from the consulting company Ernst & Young, published last May, Italy is in 19th place worldwide for attracting investments in the renewables market. This position is slightly lower (-2 places) than the last report pre-Covid, which demonstrated that Italy is still an important environment for investors to accelerate the energy transition.
Renewable energy is now considered a safe choice: EY speculates – based on the gradual lowering of technology costs in the last decade – that investments in photovoltaic can benefit from a return estimated between 6% and 10% in current market conditions.
An attractive context for investors, who then see the risk associated with these returns reduced, avoiding exposure to fluctuations due to mechanisms of government incentives, which can undergo variations over time, based on authorities and governments.
In this context, we are trying to form new partnerships with landowners and developers (qualified companies or professionals) to accompany the development of new green initiatives.
New professional opportunities
This development also implies the creation of new professional opportunities throughout the supply chain of investments in renewables: according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), investing on a global scale 130,000 billion dollars in renewable energy could allow for a greater increase in global GDP by 2050, with another 98,000 billion dollars (2.4%) and 42 million more jobs, considering the field of energy efficiency and related sectors.
In Italy, professions linked to the green economy – according to ISTAT data restated in the tenth GreenItaly report – surpassed the threshold of 3 million workers at the end of 2018. In 2019, too, the demand for green jobs on behalf of the production world continued to grow, with more than 500,000 hiring contracts put in place. A demonstration of how sustainability is a choice that can bring added value.
Renewables and agriculture, a possible coexistence
The development of new renewable projects will lead to more than just the employment benefits mentioned above. Expected benefits should be updated with recent data and concrete experiments, which have already demonstrated how local specificities – like agriculture and livestock – can coexist with renewable plants with no issues, each benefiting from the other’s presence.
In Italy, it is estimated that the space needed for the entire solar capacity required by Italy in 2030 would impact a minimal area of land, equal to the province of Monza-Brianza. The entire wind capacity required would cover an area no bigger than the single province of Prato. Two of the three smallest provinces in Italy: a fact that dispels the myth of the excessive land taken up by solar and wind plants.
Enel Green Power is already testing coexistence models between renewable plants and agriculture, drawing up sustainable new horizons. This is the case for agrivoltaic, an innovative method that has us involved with the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory at the Aurora photovoltaic plant, in Minnesota. The outcomes have been surprising, both for crops and the animal species involved.
The energy transition is a fixed point of the Italian recovery, and Enel Green Power is ready to do its part: strengthening its teams to tackle new challenges, forming new partnerships and turning its skills into a public good, with informative online projects and initiatives on the ground to share the world of green energy – so that renewables belong to everyone more and more.