Suggestions for a serious (and non-ideological) energy transitionL'IDEA DI STEFANO CIANCIOTTA

Leggi in italiano 

The new flare-up in gas costs has suddenly gained headlines in this election campaign. Beyond palliatives, on taxonomy, Europe (not just Italy) is gambling its future as a global industrial player.


Even though the catastrophists and prophets of “no” had decreed its demise, Melendugno, a beautiful coastal resort in Salento known for the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline), has reached a record number of tourists and is the fifth largest city in Salento in terms of summer visitors. 

If we add to this news the 190-million-euro arbitration won by the English Rockhopper with the Italian State over the Ombrina affair – the offshore oil project in front of the Abruzzo coast blocked in 2016 by the Ministry of Economic Development – we realize the dangerousness of the ideological “no” to everything, now again overbearingly in the limelight with the attack on the HSR (High-Speed Rail) construction sites in the Susa Valley.


Can Europe be told that it must abandon the dramatic and costly pretense of decarbonization on a single continent?

Even though the world was moving in the opposite direction (China and India), or more slowly (U.S.), Europe showed a willingness to decarbonize: as soon as the economy recovered after Covid, the gas investment crisis led to a gas supply crisis.


In contrast, the Norwegian government has announced that it will increase hydrocarbon and gas extraction by 2030, and make record profits precisely because of Europe, making it the second-largest supplier of oil and gas after Russia. “If Europe commits to buying, Norway can replace more Russian gas” Oil and Energy Minister Terje Aasland said in May.

Like any producer, Norway seeks to secure demand for its exports, which have made it one of the world’s richest countries and helped Europe reduce its dependence on Russian energy.


In light of what is happening, one should have the courage to declare a halt to the ecological transition, which is the real cause of the monstrous ride on electricity prices (including gas prices) that began long before the Ukrainian war, as stated by the president of the Italian Nuclear Association Umberto Minopoli.

Prices continue to soar due to the continued willingness to proclaim fossil reduction, but still keeping the price of electricity, which is also produced from non-fossil sources (nuclear and renewables), pegged to the price of gas. The Ukraine war and Russia’s blackmail using gas as a weapon of war have only added fuel to the price fire.


Without ideological conditioning, making a serious transition requires extracting more gas, lowering the burden of carbon taxes for those who have to produce with gas, multiplying regasifiers, renewing and implementing the pipeline network to make it increasingly efficient, decoupling electricity (renewable and nuclear) from the price of gas, and implementing the taxonomy that calls for investing in nuclear and gas as sustainable sources.

The cap on gas prices plus subsidies to businesses and households are temporary palliatives unless decarbonization policies are reviewed and updated.

This fall, thousands of small businesses will be decimated by high energy prices. These businesses constitute the DNA of our industrial system. Defending them means implicitly helping the European economy and industry, which has already begun in some sectors (textiles) to produce in less expensive countries such as Turkey.

Much of the future of the European Union, not just of our country, will be played out in the coming weeks on these issues.

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