Alberto Clô introduces Energia 1.21 (pp. 2-6)
di Alberto Clô
Alberto Clô introduces the contents of the new issue of ENERGIA: “the Stone Guests”; “Power distribution: pluralism or monopoly?”; “Mixed signals from the climate front”; “Towards the renewable «bubble»?”
Einaudi’s lessons and the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (pp. 8-11)
(Le lezioni di Einaudi e il Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza)
Alberto Clô and G.B. Zorzoli (Rivista «Energia»)
The National Recovery and Resilience Plan adopted by the Italian government on 12 January raised quite a few observations on energy and environmental matters, both of merit and method. Alberto Clô and GB Zorzoli have pointed the main criticisms. Before submitting the document to the European Commission by 30 April, the PNRR should above all assimilate two essential lessons from former President Einaudi.
The arrival of vaccines, the Chinese economy recovery, Biden’s victory in presidential election and the Next Generation EU creates a beneficial environment for a return in world demand for goods and services, even if initially it will be a patchy recovery. The macroeconomic policies of the United States and Europe are similar, but they differ in size and degree of coordination of interventions. In this period, it is necessary to manage the economic effects of the health emergency that still persists and to address the post-Covid recovery. With Mario Draghi as new Prime Minister, the Italian economy could move towards important structural changes by achieving objectives of environmental sustainability, digitization, social inclusion.
The oil market future in the “Virato World” (pp. 18-23)
(Le prospettive del mercato del petrolio nel «Mondo Virato»)
Edward L. Morse and Francesco Martoccia (Citigroup)
The pandemic is a breaking point for the oil industry. International oil companies will have to rebalance their business model; governments to rethink their energy policies. In the short term, the oil market should rebalance. On the supply side, eyes are pointed on OPEC+; on the demand side, on China. The dynamics of the refining sector must not be overlooked: in the post-pandemic future, profit margins will be structurally lower. Doomsday scenarios of a supply crunch due to under-investments are exaggerated, but the «Virato World» will not envision the twilight of the hydrocarbons era neither. Geopolitics will remain a cornerstone even in a greener world.
Climate change and individual behavior (pp. 24-33)
(Cambiamenti climatici e comportamenti individuali)
Alberto Clô (Chief Editor «Energia»)
The climate crisis has so far been almost exclusively addressed from the energy supply side with a top-down approach. Yet it is also, and above all, the innovations on the demand side with which the new sources were intertwining that have allowed the past energy transitions. The result is that the hoped-for transition to a post-fossil economy is at a standstill. To overcome the current stagnation, individual behaviors must enter in the equation: understanding the barriers to change is essential to breaking them down. It is not just a question of informing the population, but of creating the awareness of the need for sacrifices without giving in to catastrophism through a culture of the complexity of climate change.
For a safer, fairer and more sustainable mobility in Italy (pp. 34-45)
(Per una mobilità più sicura, equa, sostenibile in Italia)
Giuseppina Fusco (Fondazione Caracciolo)
The pandemic discouraged the use of collective transport and sharing mobility solutions and facilitated a return to private cars in our cities. This situation has raised concerns both from environmental and safety points of view, as the Italian car fleet still presents many old vehicles (Euro 0, 1 and 2). If we consider that the specter of an economic depression tends to reduce the spending in new, more efficient and performing vehicles, the current crisis represents a real obstacle to the renewal of the national fleet. This article presents findings from a larger study and provides a method based on scientific evidence to identify the priorities of the mobility sector. It suggests some concrete proposals for an early adoption of an ecological and rational incentive plan, equally accessible to different groups of consumers.
Energy poverty and «just transition» (pp. 46-51)
(Povertà energetica e «just transition»)
Paola Valbonesi, Ivan Faiella, Luciano Lavecchia e Raffaele Miniaci (Osservatorio Italiano sulla Povertà Energetica)
The coming sustainable energy transition requires renewed attention to energy poverty, a phenomenon that affected 2.3 million families in Italy in 2018 and is now exacerbated by the economic consequences of the pandemic. In this context, energy policies must be careful to not generate new forms of poverty and inequality in order to make the transition an opportunity of progress for all. The article, taken from the Second Report of the Italian Observatory on Energy Poverty, presents an overview of the Italian situation and describes the possible redistributive effects of a carbon tax and the tools provided by the NECP.
State of the art of power distribution in Italy (pp. 52-56)
(Stato dell’arte della distribuzione elettrica in Italia)
Gian Paolo Repetto (Rie – Ricerche Industriali ed Energetiche)
The electricity distribution grids are expected to create the conditions for the evolution of the electricity system towards the 2030 energy and climate framework. In order to drive the change, grids will have to increase their functionality and modernize. This article deals with the industrial and regulatory organization of the electricity sector in Italy and the investment activities of the main operators. It also highlights some important issues that need to be addressed in order to accelerate investment rates and to achieve decarbonization targets, such as the integration of renewable generation, the improvement of service quality, the modernization and technological development of assets.
From kWh to data: which governance of power distribution (pp. 58-60)
(Dai kWh ai dati: quale governance della distribuzione elettrica)
Chicco Testa (FISE-Assoambiente)
From dumb and passive to smart and active. The evolution of the power distribution grid is good news. But the growing complexity and potential bring with them new conflicts of interest. To fully develop the potential while resolving the new asymmetries and latent conflicts of interest a governance review is necessary, with particular reference to data management, that takes into account present and future developments.
The question is not the governance of the network, but the regulation of data management (pp. 62-66)
(Il nodo non è la governance della rete, ma la regolazione sulla gestione dei dati)
G.B. Zorzoli (Scientific Committee of «Energia»)
The governance of electricity distribution networks is a still hidden issue destined to become crucial. Chicco Testa raised it on RivistaEnergia.it, bringing to attention not only the hard aspects, but above all the importance of data. However, in addition to a few blemishes in the reconstruction of events, it lacks the solution more likely to come true: the renunciation of ownership of the energy production connected to the distribution network. E.ON’s experience anticipates the choice that other utilities will make to avoid losing, together with the network control, the relative database. The new organizational paradigm, as Enel shows, will be platform-based, like those of Internet giants. The real problem to be solved is therefore not the governance of the network, but the regulation of data management.
Power distribution: pluralism or monopoly? (pp. 68-73)
(Distribuzione elettrica: pluralismo o monopolio?)
Carlo Stagnaro (Istituto Bruno Leoni)
A successful separation between regulated and unregulated businesses is a key condition for a well-functioning competition in energy markets. In fact, the underlying industrial organization is a cause for the different degree of development of Italy’s electricity and natural gas retail markets: the distribution networks are highly concentrated and belong to vertically-integrated conglomerates in the first case; more fragmented and often ownership-unbundled in the second one. This also contributed to different regulatory choices and resulted in highly concentrated retail markets for electricity, less concentrated ones for natural gas. Hence, full liberalization requires different policies to address different issues. In particular, ad-hoc policy tools are needed to substantially reduce the concentration of retail electricity markets – where the incumbent currently supplies around 70% of small customers – and to introduce more effective forms of DSO unbundling.
Who does power distribution go to? It’s better to start thinking about it (pp. 74-77)
(A chi va la distribuzione elettrica? Meglio ragionarci sin da ora)
Tullio Fanelli (former Autorità per l’Energia e il Gas) and Massimo Mucchetti (Eureka 2018)
As a regulated concession business, the electric power distribution ensures a significant operating margin that is fairly stable over time. Companies involved have a clear interest in maintaining the status quo. However, it would be useful to rethink on the best proprietary allocation of distribution, even within the framework of new opportunities offered by the Recovery Plan. The matter is complex and the legitimate interests at stake are numerous, thus the discussion should begin from now. Even if the expiry of the concessions in force is set for 31 December 2030, it is worth to decide what to do at least five years in advance. And if the issue is approached with balance, win-win solutions can be identified.
Bill Gates, How To Avoid A Climate Disaster (pp. 78-79)
di Alberto Clô (Chief Editor «Energia»)
Bibliographic reports (pp. 80-81)
Tabs (pp. 82-95)
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