Just two weeks have passed since the beginning of this new year, and on the subject of renewable energy, we are talking about pleasant new things. The good intentions are so green that, for at least a couple of years, the expectations of the sector have been exceeded. And for the next 10 years, the initiatives could rise again and improve visibly. What are the expectations of the experts?
The main objective in view of the next decades? We want to try, by 2050, to start renewable energy at 100%. The news is supported by the good intentions of Italian CNR researchers, who have conducted a specific study on Italian renewable energy. Below we will see what are the steps assumed in this program, in order to reach an ambitious goal, but not impossible.
“Italy 100% Renewable”, a precise journey for renewable energy
The first aspect that must be kept in mind is related to energy demand. On the basis of the estimates compared in recent years, the average Italian energy needs of the next few years is 730 TWh, or about 230% more than the situation in which we find ourselves. This value is achieved by creating a correct collaboration between solar, hydroelectric and wind power. This combo may be sufficient even if it is not possible to consider it completely resolutive. And here is one of the most important objectives of the year just begun: for a program that knows how to cover the long run, it is good to consider also an energy of stock, which can be produced naturally, through other sources. With hydrogen of biological origin (derived from cellulose), mixed with electricity and water, one could find a good solution.
In fact, the biohydrogen has the particularity of being transported and stored exactly as it is with fossil fuels, before being then used or reused at a later time. Scholars explain that to cope with the oscillations of Italian energy demand, 550 TWh of biohydrogen are needed. At the same time, the new photovoltaic plants, together with the wind farms, could then be able to introduce at least another 600 TWh into the electricity grid. How does all this translate?
The current hydropower plants will produce an average of 49 TWh within a few years. To date, geothermal plants can offer around 6 TWh; this means that about 35 TWh would be missing on the total calculation to reach the annual requirement of 730 TWh estimated at 2050.
What does this type of energy program of the future involve?
The ideas seem to be clear, but what does this maneuver carefully explained by the scholars? First of all, we underline an important cultural leap in the country, but at the same time we can not ignore the economic investment that it would entail. Up until 2018 the need is estimated of around € 500 billion to be reserved for storage technologies. But turning Italy into a green oasis involves other costs!
We also calculate the cost of installing wind turbines and photovoltaic modules: we are talking about a fixed (non-recurring) price that could reach a cost of 530 billion. And if we go to add them to the previous ones we come to touch a record number: over 1000 billion euros.
But the costs do not end there: it will be necessary to purchase fossil fuels whose cost is equal to 600 billion. It is therefore early to say that investment in renewables, without fuels, drops to 400 billion. A reduction that would give many advantages to every citizen, in terms of bills and the quality of the air we breathe.
To conclude, it is possible to say that the goal is complicated, even if it is not so impossible. The choice is now in the hands of the institutions that have to decide whether to proceed with funding, or to keep watching.