Burning Gas To Produce Electricity Is 'Stupid,' Says CEO Of Italian Firm
Francesco Starace, CEO of the Italian power giant Enel, says “you can produce electricity better, cheaper, without using gas. Gas is a precious molecule and you should leave it for … applications where that is needed.”
Photo Insert: Francesco Starace, CEO of the Italian power giant Enel
Starace has cast cast doubt on the continued benefit of using gas to produce electricity, telling Anmar Frangoul of CNBC it is “stupid” and that cheaper and better alternatives are now available.
Speaking to CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at the World Economic Forum, Starace discussed where Europe had sourced its gas from over the years, name-checking both Libya and Russia.
Russia was the biggest supplier of petroleum and natural gas to the EU last year, according to Eurostat. The bloc is now attempting to wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I think this is a big wake up call,” Starace said, adding that “too much gas” was being used “in a stupid way, because burning gas to produce electricity is, today, stupid.” Alternative methods of electricity generation include wind and solar power, among others.
According to a recent report from Ember, a think tank focused on moving the planet away from coal to what it calls “clean electricity,” fossil fuels were responsible for 37% of EU electricity generation in 2021.
Breaking down the above figure, Ember’s report — published in February — said fossil gas power produced 18% of the EU’s electricity, a three-year low. Renewables were responsible for 37%, while nuclear produced 26% of the bloc’s electricity last year, Ember said.