New National Journal – ENERGY CRISIS, MUST ALSO BE FACED WITH COMMON SENSE

by Giuseppe Augieri

An election campaign “colored” by the energy crisis. And a big fight over the spilled milk of wrong choices in the past and the “new course” of energy production.

But I’d like to be out of the chorus.

The first question we should ask anyone who talks about energy sources, solar instead of coal, gas instead of wind, is: “Okay. But how much energy do we need? and therefore how much do we have to produce?’ I have more than a suspicion that few would answer. And to the next question: “But how do you calculate the amount of energy we need to produce?” the gap of answers would become mundane.

The much talked about energy plan of the 90s (by the same people who are now afraid of the current crisis) has disappeared from the radar of information and therefore of debate: as if it was not – necessarily – part of the horizons to be considered. When it was discussed, as it is today, it seemed that the problem was only defining the primary sources. And there was NIMBY (Not In My Backyard). The no where to plant, and the struggle over the sources, that is, the how, has overshadowed the need for what to do. !!!

The absurdity is that once a factory is set up, it takes years to build and then produce. and you have to count on many years of business to recoup your investment. So today’s decision will concern the next, say, 30 years.

But why design? and how complicated is it to do? Again, due to the characteristic of electricity that it must be produced in the required quantity and at the time it is consumed, this assessment is necessary not only to determine the quantity but also the place of production. Because it is clear that if I need electricity in Calabria, it would be very strange to think of a power plant in the Po Valley.

Therefore, the forecast is not simple: if we add that in this calculation it is also necessary to forecast the “contemporaneity” of the demand, the question is presented in all its complexity.

The synchronicity? Because the total electricity demand – industrial, craft and domestic – is completely impossible to request all together. Let’s think about it for a moment: all factories – not only those with a 24-hour production cycle – operate at times when the demand for electricity for domestic use is not at its peak. The production hours of the crafts do not correspond to those of the electricity required at home and, in part, to that required by large industries. Not all ovens and dishwashers and washing machines will turn on at the same time of day and week. If a certain event makes us think of a particularly high demand peak, this should be predicted before it happens: when the national football team played, more than 20 million televisions were turned on at the same time, a management problem is not easy. A thousand variables and one valid solution.

But, without going into details, it is clear that synchronicity, the possible development of industry in one place and not in another, the type of industry more or less energy intensive, the “reliability” of the source of electricity compared to other sources of energy such as gas , and other parameters are all variables linked to a particular type of economic development, to a particular industrial development and to variations in lifestyle: all variables to be predicted.

So. There can be no energy plan without financial planning. And the latter can be ‘passive’ (ie limited to anticipating the different trends as they develop) or ‘active’ (ie creating the conditions to encourage one type of development over another, encouraging the localization of industries in a area rather than another, to create employment opportunities and even urban development). An example. A new power station – I’m talking about the traditional one – gives work to the companies that produce the materials, gives work for a few years to those who build it, creates – around the place where the plant will be erected, usually quite far away. from residential centers – the need for public and commercial services and – in some cases – for housing, roads, services. Deciding whether and where to do it is not ‘neutral’ in relation to the development of an area: development in every sense.

Let’s stop here, even if there is a lot to say. However, some indications already seem clear to me, and with them some considerations must be made.

Let us only ask ourselves if we have ever heard of these programs, these plans. And if we have news of their existence. Just a media distraction? Is it better to argue about more or less green sources? So let’s not complain about what we will have to endure in terms of the energy crisis. On which the war only served to accelerate its acute phase, because the problem existed before. Hidden but ancient.

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