The Electricity System is faced with a series of demanding challenges in the path toward Sustainable Development.
In the short term, on one hand it is necessary to increase system security and resilience to allow mitigation and the adaptation to the Global Climatic Changes while facing extreme climatic conditions and natural risks, and on the other hand to guarantee full environmental compatibility of plant operation and obtain public authorization for its plants and infrastructures.
In the longer term, it is necessary to integrate the objectives and good practises of sustainable development in the "day-to-day" management of the plants and develop the energy options for the future, both short-term and medium/long-term, that meet "stakeholder" expectations as much as sustainability paradigms.
On the other hand, the Electricity System itself can and has to represent an important part of the solution to these challenges as well, across:
. "De-carbonization" of the generation mix
. Increased diffusion of Renewable Sources and increased use of renewable and recyclable materials
. Increased diffusion of the electricity carrier in Final Uses
. Enhancement of Energy Efficiency in the entire electricity "value chain"
. Expansion and strengthening of the network, with the incorporation of "intelligence" at all levels
. Increased and effective involvement of stakeholders and the public in decision-making processes on system development and plant operation
In other words, the Electricity System, as a whole and besides its fundamental role in the socio-economic development of the Country as a driving component for all the areas of the economy has a significant influence on the state of the environment, with direct and often negative action linked to the presence of plants and infrastructures, and indirect, often positive action, deriving from specific electricity in the final use of the energy (removal of pollution sources from the user, concentrated emissions that are easier to monitor, etc.).
The studies and research that RSE carries out are aimed at supporting the development of the Electricity System in a view of increased sustainability. Among these:
. Definition and analysis of system development scenarios, through the development and use of "technical-economic" models of the well-known group MARKAL-TIMES, conveniently adapted to simulate in detail the Italian electricity system
. Study of the "Global Change" impacts on the Mediterranean region, with special caution to the issues of the Italian electricity system, through climatic models, to assess future trends in temperatures and of the rainfalls and the "pattern" of the water availability
. Monitoring the "base" concentrations of the Greenhouse Gases
Under a more strictly "environmental" aspect, the issues to limit pollution in any way possible and the economic assessment of environmental and social costs - the externalities - associated to the unavoidable impacts constitute decisive arguments of study to identify the acceptability conditions for development of the electricity system.