lunedì 28 giugno 2010

Social value of the Italian energy industry

Censis (Centro Studi Investimenti Sociali) has just published the report “Il valore sociale dell’industria energetica italiana - The social value of Italian Energy industry” which aims to point out the social benefits of the Italian energy sector.

The analysis of the different production chains shows a dynamic and profitable sector. The energy industry results to be one of the major productive sector of the Italian economic system in terms of employment (about 118,000 qualified workers and other 80,000 of the linked industries); annual turnover (over 230 billion of euro); direct investments (16 billion of euro per year) and specialized product and service linked industries; quality (new technologies and approaches) and tax revenue for the Government. The report shows also how national energy mix is changing:even if fossil fuels are still prevailing, natural gas and renewable sources are increasing with a respective share of 36.4% and 8.9% in 2008 compared to 21% and 5.7% in 1990. In 2008, renewable sources represented 16.7% of the electric production: 12.1% from hydroelectric power, 4.5% from biomass, geothermal and wind power (about 1.5% each one) and 0.1% from photovoltaic power. The wind and photovoltaic sectors result to be the more dynamic in terms of increase of installed power (wind: +81% in 2001-2008) and annual investments (1.8 and 2.4 billions of euro).

The second part of the report underlines the efforts of the energy sector to minimize negative externalities by improving its social and environmental performances. Environmental issues have been integrated into the industries’ strategies by both “immaterial” (management, education and communication activities) and “material” (technology solutions and impacts mitigation or offsetting) actions.
Considering the great value of the energy industry, the authors of the report judge as crucial a proper management of the main risks connected to it: the lack of long-term energy policies could limit the development of the sector, loosing the human and technological know-how acquired till today. Moreover, local conflicts and the complexity of bureaucracy could discourage investments. A collective effort is needed in order to preserve and improve the energy sector and its social benefits.

Francesca Sau
Climate Change Researcher
British Consulate General Milan

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