Decentralized renewable energy solutions to foster economic development
Electricity supply and socio-economic development are closely linked. Innovative, sustainable decentralized energy solutions represent indeed the most efficient instrument to promote electricity access in remote and low load density areas. Within this framework efficient generation technologies are crucial for the provision of electricity access and, in turn, to foster local development although not yet sufficient to directly spur sustained growth. Inclusive business models able to foster productive uses of energy are necessary, although the cycle jump-start requires many different inputs. The following study will therefore analyze the existing nexus between electrification and development, further highlighting the important role of having a holistic point of view and building strong partnerships to achieve the most efficient and sustainable business model. Finally, systematic know-how dissemination and a consistent regulatory framework for decentralized energy systems will represent key elements for an effective energy policy within emerging economies.
Electricity tariff reform – Discourages energy efficiency
The solution suggested by the authority to resolve problems is to penalise and shift part of the financial burden on to those who produce renewable energy power, which seems to be contrary to what the legislations state. Here follows Giuseppe Artizzu’s opinion on the proposal for reform of the electricity rates of residential customers. Having summarized the proposed reform of the electricity rates for residential customers deeply discussed by the energy authority, we will host a debate about it on the following pages. We have published the opinions of GB Zorzoli the Honorary President of FREE, and of Chicco Testa, the President of Assoelettrica.
Opec had no choice
The long-awaited Opec Summit in Vienna on thursday ended with nothing concrete: cartel production in 2015 will remain the current one, despite the collapse of more than 30% of barrel price since this summer. Who has interpreted the decision as a deliberate choice by the Saudis to make a price war on American producers is wrong. Opec had no choice, the financial perspectives are grave for weaker members of the cartel, such as Venezuela and Nigeria, in a context of low oil prices. What determines the excess supply on the international oil market are not the big producers who challenge the hegemony of the Kingdom, but hundreds of small American oil companies, which drill as if there was no tomorrow. For these, the future consequences of petrol supply are not taken into consideration.
Why solar energy has systemic relevance
Photovoltaics has assumed a role, sometimes that is a dominant one in the coverage of daily requirements. Its cost, especially in southern Italy, is competitive with that of fossil fuels. The near future is auto-consumption and accumulation. How can we change the logic of the electricity market? Giuseppe Artizzu’s article published in the latest issue of the magazine QualEnergia. In 2013 photovoltaics covered 7% of Italian electric requirements, a share that has no equal in the world. But due to the seasonal profile and time, this figure is not representative of the actual role that technology has taken. However in winter, there is a tangible impact on the wholesale price of electricity, the weight on the need is still limited, in summer and even more in the late spring technology has transformed the market, arriving to cover in a structural way 15-20% of the working day (significantly more for the holidays).
Ho to put an end to dependence on russian gas
A couple of weeks ago it was suggested, provocatively but not too much so that the Russian gas taps should be closed to buyers. Provocation or not, the developments of recent days demonstrate that the energy dependence has a political cost which is too high. Now let’s spare ourselves yet another sterile call for a diversification of sources: we need a plan and its concrete and immediate implementation. Who says it takes decades does not know the market or has a conflict of interests. Exiting from this dependance doesn’t mean stopping the import gas from Russia; it simply means reducing imports to a level that could enable, if necessary, alternatives at a tolerable cost.
Electricity market. Is the design really obsolete?
In the Italian electricity system outlined there is the hypothesis that the closure of part of the thermoelectric capacity would compromise system security. It would be better to leave the reserve margin to drop and see if commodity prices return to levels compatible with ensuring the system. An article by Giuseppe Artizzu. Until three years ago, the time profile of the equilibrium price in the market followed the electric load curve faithfully. By 2012 the photovoltaics had brought a gradual but systematic reduction of price in the central hours of the day, preceded and followed by two short spikes in the early morning and late afternoon, also helped by migrating to those times of the programmable power production. In substance the hourly price curve doesn’t follow the load but the residual load, i.e. the portion not covered by intermittent sources at zero marginal cost.
The big bluff of oil companies
The Eni media campaign focuses on the emergency of a competitive European industry, penalized by gas and electricity which is much more expensive than in the United States. The problem is real, but there are also real doubts about the sustainability of a model founded on cheap hydrocarbons. Besides this, what is striking is the unscrupulousness with which Eni, alone among the big oil companies, has chosen to play a controversial match. The leaders of the company have taken a position contrary to community strategies of decarbonisation, claiming them to be ineffective, a high cost to the economy and a potential injury to the security of supply. The economical alternative, according to Eni, would be the American choice in favor of shale gas, which means drilling in Europe and renewing the pacts with historical suppliers like Algeria and Russia.
The american energy model is not a model
Americans are paying a third of the cost of gas in Europe, and half of that of electricity. The America of Bush and Obama is an enlightened energy model, to be imported to this side of the Atlantic. The numbers are not far from reality, but this conclusion is somewhat hasty. That Scaroni and his colleagues pester the European press with slogans is understandable, however the Ministers of Industry being their sounding board is not. This is a brief recent American history, : in the past decade the soaring prices of oil and gas has made it for the first time economically exploitable, with innovative technologies and known reserves of non-conventional hydrocarbons. Money, skills and infrastructure, combined with private ownership of the subsoil, triggered a typical American rush to deposit: within a few years, the seemingly irreversible decline of gas production has turned into a boom, shortly followed by an oil production boom too.
Commercial bills are cut with the carbon tax
In 2012 the electric bills have been loaded wth 10 and a half billion euros of incentives for renewable energy sources. Who benefits is who works in the green industry, at least indirectly. I do not intend to defend the reasons for incentives, nor stigmatize mistakes. I will look at the facts: the average charge in a bill is over 4 cents per kilowatt hour. Aside from second homes and families with high consumption, users most affected are small and medium-sized enterprises. On the other hand there are a number of exempted consumers like those of railways and a number of big businesses. Cutting bills is a cornerstone of the relaunch of the industrial sector. But the proposals, from a further opening of the gas market, the modification of charges between categories of users, the extension of charges of auto consumption (a blatant stupidity), have limited the short-term impact. If you want to make a big difference then you need to act with a direct cut of the administration part of the bill: the rational way to do this is to transfer the renewable energy incentivation costs , with the introduction of a carbon tax.
Gas bills are falling – thanks to who?
“In a scenario of strong contraction of the demand for energy, the new system of balancing introduced by the authorities in December 2011 has contributed -along with other regulatory interventions and recent European rules on transport capacity allocation and congestion management- to lowering the spread in the rest of Europe”. The spread which the energy authority has spoken about is the one that reflects the difference between the price of gas in Italy and across the borders. In recent months the differential has fallen dramatically, until becoming inverted: recently our wholesale price has often been lower than average European prices. The authority, for its part, has implemented a series of measures to reflect this reality in detail, which we have seen in our bills.