Alberto Clô introduces ENERGIA 1.22 (pp. 2-7)
Alberto Clô introduces the contents of the new issue of ENERGIA: “Gas crisis: higher for longer”; “Cracks in the energy transition narrative”; ”Beyond the Conferences of the parties”; “The energy subjection of Bruxels from Berlin”; “Knots to untie and choices to make”; “The future between pandemic, great crisis, dreams of glory”.
Free us from Russian gas is possible and right (pp. 8-9)
(Liberarsi del gas russo è doveroso e possibile)
Alberto Clô (Editor Chief of «Energia»)
Is it possible to free Europe from Russian gas? Yes, using all available technologies and investing in new ones. At what times? The experience of the Oil crises of the 70s teaches us that it is possible to free oneself from energy used as an instrument of political pressure within a decade. It is a short, medium and long-term strategy that must be implemented with conviction, putting aside national selfishness in the name of a higher interest.
Macroeconomic Scenario (pp. 10-15)
(Scenario macroeconomico 2022-2023)
Sergio De Nardis (Luiss School of European Political Economy)
The spread of Omicron, skyrocketing commodity prices, pressure on logistics and concerns about the crisis in Ukraine are the risk factors at the start of the year for the global recovery, which is slowing but not over. Inflation pushes central banks to look for a balance between the need to mitigate expansion and the need to ensure support for the recovery. The return of the demand for goods and services, supported by savings set aside during lockdown periods as well as by expansive fiscal policies, brings the main forecasters to remain quite optimistic about the economic recovery during the year.
The Italian energy system after the pandemic (pp. 16-21)
(Il sistema energetico italiano dopo la pandemia)
Francesco Gracceva (ENEA)
Current trends in the Italian energy system show that the fall in energy consumption and emissions in 2020 was conjunctural. The Italian energy intensity reduction performance appears worse than that of the Eurozone. Fit55 scenarios require radical changes in historical trends of all macro-variables, and to accelerate in this decade the transition that PNIEC planned for the decade 2030-2040. Beyond 2030, a quantum leap in the reduction rate of the share of fossil fuels in energy consumption is energy intensity is needed.
Gas price crisis, between market and politics (pp. 22-31)
(Crisi dei prezzi del gas, tra mercati e politica)
Giovanni Goldoni (Scientific Committee of «Energia»)
and Gian Paolo Repetto (Energy economics expert)
The current energy crisis has highlighted the need to analyze in a new perspective the apparent globalization of natural gas markets and their price mechanisms both at wholesale and retail level. As prices rose in 2021, what was the role played by the uncertainty about the post-pandemic recovery of the world’s largest economies? And in the context of the European market, how have domestic production and storage performed? What is the role of imports from Russia? How important is liquefied natural gas? This article delves deeply into the recent past to provide an interpretation of the events that will also influence gas prices in 2022, bearing in mind that most of the changes recorded in the market in the last twenty years are structural.
Market mechanisms for electricity and gas (pp. 32-34)
(Meccanismi di mercato per l’elettricità e il gas)
Pippo Ranci (Former professor at Università Cattolica, Milan)
and Alberto Pototschnig (World of Practice, Florence School of Regulation e Direttore DFC Economics)
What regulatory levers can be activated to face rising gas and electricity prices? The new energy crisis reopens the debate on commodity price mechanisms in the wholesale markets. This article briefly discusses the proposal to move from a system based on «pay-ascleared » mechanisms, which remunerates all participants with the price of the highest bid, to a «pay-as-bid» one, in which each bid accepted on the market is remunerated at the price proposed by the seller. And it warns: while the risks of negative repercussions on efficiency and competition are certain, the possible positive effects of such a proposal remain doubtful.
Containing energy prices and household spending (pp. 36-39)
(Contenimento dei prezzi dell’energia e spesa delle famiglie)
Ivan Faiella and Luciano Lavecchia (Climate Change and Sustainability Team, Bank of Italy)
With a microsimulation model of the energy demand of Italian households developed in a recent study, we assess the impact of the latest spike in energy prices (electricity and gas) on the energy use and expenditure of Italian households, taking into account the mitigation measures implemented by the Government. By applying a different set of price changes to the model, it is possible to estimate the impact of Government interventions on the demand for electricity and gas, on the related expenditure, as well as on the overall expenditure at the micro level. The results suggest that the mitigation measures helped in reducing the impact of prices on energy consumption and expenditure, with a bigger impact, both in terms of demand contraction and expenditure increase, on poorer households.
SPEAKERS’ CORNER: BEYOND THE CONFERENCES OF PARTIES
Limits of COPs and COP limits and reform proposals (pp. 40-43)
(Limiti delle COP e proposte di riforma)
Alberto Clô (Editor in Chief of «Energia»)
The unsatisfactory results achieved at COP26 in Glasgow can be attributed not only to the difficulty of finding actions that bring together the divergent interests of States, but also to the way COPs work. The article proposes setting up “technical tables” on specific issues in which all the main stakeholders would be involved, with a commitment to identify binding solutions to cut emissions, to be submitted to the Conference of the Parties for ratification.
The role of large investment companies (pp. 44-46)
(Il ruolo delle grandi società di investimento)
G.B. Zorzoli (Scientific Committee of «Energia»)
Alberto Clô’s proposal to set up “technical tables” on specific issues would be more effective if it were preceded by a technical table among the major investment companies, whose guidelines would influence the main production sectors in a large number of countries, not only in the West.
After Glasgow: toward a new start (pp. 47-49)
(Dopo Glasgow: verso un nuovo inizio)
Enzo Di Giulio (Scientific Committee of «Energia»)
To really improve the Conferences of the Parties beyond the rhetoric of declarations of goodwill, everything should be focused on the climate objectives of the countries most responsible for emissions. The keystone of the new course should be a G20 on climate, which would put at the centre of its action the targets of the countries, expressed in a homogeneous metric and upgradeable at any time.
SPEAKERS’ CORNER: DISTRIBUTION GRID
Renewal of concessions for electricity distribution in Italy (pp. 50-55)
(Il rinnovo delle concessioni per la distribuzione elettrica in Italia)
Marcello Clarich (Sapienza University of Rome)
The legislative intervention established by the Bersani Decree for the reorganization of the electricity distribution sector is still compatible with the 2030 expiration of the current concessions. Even if the Legislator does not produce a comprehensive law to regulate the reallocation of the service, the new tendering procedures could find a very precise regulatory framework in the European law, in the Council of State jurisprudence as well as in the nearby gas sector experience. In order to arrive prepared at the deadline, a careful reflection on the part of all the actors involved should be initiated in time.
Sustainable energy, scientific community and nuclear fusion (pp. 56-60)
(Energia sostenibile, comunità scientifica e fusione nucleare)
Bruno Coppi (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
The multiplicity of nuclear reactions and the systems required to produce energy in a sustainable manner, in the short and long term, is given due consideration. A prominent obstacle to the development of advanced reactors, such as those based on nuclear fusion, has emerged from the gradual drift of the large administrative structures, created to support scientific and technological research during the postwar era, away from the values upon which they were founded. The effects of this evolution, which turned out to be paralyzing, compounded by the interests of major industrial groups, have resulted in the postponement of the demonstration of the feasibility of a fusion reactor capable of achieving ignition far beyond what was expected, given the existence of the basic knowledge require to proceed. In this context, the involvement of the active scientific community at the international level is viewed as essential for evaluating the state of relevant research efforts and the potential for future development.
Nuclear fission and fusion: latest developments and prospects (pp. 62-65)
(Fissione e fusione: ultimi sviluppi e prospettive)
Fabio Pistella (ENR)
The time-frame for developing nuclear fusion is not compatible with achieving the goal of carbon neutrality by mid-century. To this end, the opportunities offered by fission must continue to be exploited. The article presents the latest developments in fission and reviews the main steps in fusion, highlighting the importance and benefits of pursuing research vigorously, including several analogies with aerospace. Finally, it comments on and endorses Bruno Coppi’s proposal to resume the IGNITOR project in Italy, which is of considerable interest as a complement to ITER.
Nuclear Energy in Europe: between Taxonomy and State aid (pp. 66-69)
(Nucleare: tra Tassonomia e aiuti di Stato)
Lorenzo Parola (Lawyer)
Even before an investment criterion, the European Taxonomy is an economic policy tool aimed at orienting markets to support the transition. That key role is also played by another important act approved by the Commission: the Guidelines on State aid for climate, environmental protection and energy. It would have been appropriate to align the two. Instead, the second excludes the nuclear energy covered in the first together with natural gas, which has a fossil origin. A duplicity with which the Commission espouses in fact the position of Germany against that of France.
The challenges of mobility towards carbon neutrality (pp. 70-75)
(Le sfide della mobilità verso la neutralità carbonica)
Giuseppina Fusco (Caracciolo Foundation)
Reducing the CO2 emissions of the automotive sector is a challenging and complex goal. It requires, among other things, to properly assess vehicle emissions, by considering direct and indirect ones; to rethink incentives on a technological maturity base, by allowing access to low-income classes; to solve the charging infrastructure node and the need of additional electricity capacity from renewable sources. The article presents some results of a Fondazione Caracciolo study that highlights the need to define a list of priorities in order to plan a technologically neutral and «eco-rational» approach to the transition.
Social acceptability constraint of onshore wind: the European case (pp. 76-82)
(Il vincolo di accettabilità sociale dell’eolico onshore: il caso europeo)
Dominique Finon (National Center of Scientific Research, France)
After a spectacular start at the turn of the century, the development of the onshore wind industry in Europe is now hampered by local opposition movements, blocking licensing processes and issuing legal battles in defense of the territory. This impasse increases the uncertainty for developers, which have lost interest in proposing new projects. Yesterday’s record growth is long gone and companies are cutting hundreds of industry’s jobs. The article examines the state of the art of onshore wind in Germany, the UK and France, considering the possible political and social responses to the lack of support and acceptance for large local projects.
Tabs (pp. 82-96)
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