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Discussing the role of the electricity sector in a post-COVID recovery


July 27, 2020

Enel Foundation recently contributed to the 123rd issue of the Oxford Energy Forum dedicated to COVID-19 and energy transition, published by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Our research team wrote a piece on the importance of a clean and resilient electricity sector for a post-COVID recovery.

The published issue probes the future of the power sector in light of the pandemic, taking into consideration the challenges and opportunities of both the short and long term. The heterogeneity of the contributors’ background and the current uncertainty of this historical moment prompted a polyhedral discussion of the topic, leaving room for a fruitful exchange of different positions. What seems to be the common ground is that the current recovery plans could determine the nature and the speed of the transition in different parts of the world, while also reinforcing global trends that were already apparent.

Enel Foundation approached the importance of clean energy investments starting from the role played by the electricity sector during the emergency in ensuring continuity and progress of economies and societies alike. Infrastructure and technology are what made the difference in responding and coping with the disruptions caused, greatly favoring those countries that had previously invested on them. 

The COVID-19 emergency has contributed to an increase in the share of renewable energies in the power mix of the main global economies and in Italy, as in March, they reached almost 45 percent of total national production, with a significant increase compared to the same month in 2019, when they accounted for 38 percent of the total. This trend needs to continue and keeps consolidating. Investing in sustainable electricity generation and infrastructure can have significant positive effects, both on immediate and long term. If on the one hand it can reduce the cost for electricity generation, on the other it can also help governments reduce reliance on fossil fuels and energy poverty, support essential social services such as public health, education, and communications, and address the challenges of air pollution and climate change.

In the Oxford Energy Forum issue some recommendations have been published on how to strengthen sustainable and reliable electricity services for all and allow the global economy and society to bounce back stronger and greener. Discover them all here: Issue 123.

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