Enel CEO Francesco Starace photographed in 2019. In an interview with CNBC on May 24, 2022, Starace stated “you can produce electricity better, cheaper, without using gas.”
Giulio Napolitano | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The CEO of Italian energy agency Enel has forged doubt on the continued advantage of utilizing gasoline to supply electrical energy, telling CNBC it’s “stupid” and that cheaper and higher alternate options at the moment are out there.
Speaking to CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on the World Economic Forum, Francesco Starace mentioned the place Europe had sourced its gasoline from through the years, name-checking each Libya and Russia.
Russia was the largest provider of petroleum oils and pure gasoline to the EU final yr, in line with Eurostat. The bloc is now making an attempt to wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I think this is a big wake up call,” Starace stated, including that “too much gas” was getting used “in a stupid way, because burning gas to produce electricity is, today, stupid.”
Instead, Starace stated there have been extra enticing alternate options.
“You can produce electricity better, cheaper, without using gas … Gas is a precious molecule and you should leave it for … applications where that is needed,” he added.
These industrial makes use of embrace chemical purposes, the paper business and use within the manufacturing of ceramics and glass, he stated.
“Spare gas for them,” Starace stated. “Stop using gas for heating, stop using gas for generating electricity when there are alternatives that are better.”
Alternative strategies of electrical energy technology embrace wind and solar energy, amongst others.
According to a latest report from Ember, a assume tank targeted on transferring the planet away from coal to what it calls “clean electricity,” fossil fuels had been chargeable for 37% of EU electrical energy technology in 2021.
Breaking down the above determine, Ember’s report — revealed in February — stated fossil gasoline energy produced 18% of the EU’s electrical energy, a three-year low. Renewables had been chargeable for 37%, whereas nuclear produced 26% of the bloc’s electrical energy final yr, Ember stated.
Across the Atlantic, preliminary figures from the U.S. Energy Administration present that pure gasoline was utilized in 38.3% of utility scale electrical energy technology within the United States in 2021.
In Starace’s opinion, change is coming to Europe, the place the EU has stated it desires to be carbon impartial by 2050. “Overall I think there will be a reduction of gas consumption in Europe across the board coming mostly from those, like I said, ‘stupid’ uses,” he stated.
“So burning it to generate electricity is not smart anymore, there is a better way,” he stated. “Burning it to heat our homes is not intelligent, there is a better way.”
The Enel Group — whose major shareholder is the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance — has stated it would abandon gasoline technology by 2040. It additionally plans to depart the retail gasoline market in 2040.
Starace was requested if the transfer to net-zero and concentrate on utilizing extra renewables in Europe could be turbocharged by the present disaster.
“I think yes, definitely,” he stated. “Because on top of the economics, on top of the climate, there is now [a] security of supply issue.”
“So you have a combination of three factors, not two, so definitely there is an acceleration there,” he added.
He stated it may take two or three years however, “you will start to see a dent in gas consumption going forward, no question.”