Energy efficiency, investments are growing.  But recovery is far away

Investments forenergy efficiency in Italy, but it is difficult to talk about recovery. The report reveals it “Digital Energy Efficiency”drawn up and presented today byEnergy & Strategy of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milanowhich shows that in 2021 the investments in the industrial sector they have reached i 2.2 billion eurosalmost totally (90%) for hardware technologies and only minimally for digital solutions and software. This is 8% more than the previous year, a percentage which however does not compensate for the vertical drop recorded in 2020 (-19.6%).

The report highlights that the trend reversal was therefore not sufficient to bring the values ​​back to pre-pandemic levels (which was already slowing down after the 2015-17 boom) due to various regulatory and market factors. Not only that, the analysis notes that the last quarter of 2021 was hit by strong growth in commodity priceswhich, however, is not matched by an increase in investments in energy efficiency.
The numbers in the report say that the most significant increase in hardware technologies (+ 8.4% of investments in total) concerns the cogeneration (+ 21%), followed byefficient lighting (+ 8%) which, however, is still far from filling the -21% recorded in 2020 compared to 2019. Digital solutions, on the other hand, grew by just 4% and almost half of the investments (74 million euros, equal to 47%) concerned i process energy data collection and monitoring systems.

The appropriations of the Pnrr Could they help turn the tide? “Unfortunately, energy efficiency in the industrial sector is the Cinderella of National recovery and resilience plan and the funds that have been allocated to it are decidedly small compared to those directed to other sectors. The reasons may be different: strategic factors, such as the choice to give greater incentives to the installation of plants from renewable energy sources to meet the decarbonisation objectives imposed by European directives; or factors related to the intrinsic characteristics of the building stock for civil use, which being further back than the industrial one is the subject of most of the funds for the redevelopment of buildings “, he replies Federico FrattiniDeputy Director of Energy & Strategy and Head ofDeer Observatory.

However, the expert points out that, once the current emergency phase is over, “investments in an industrial key will be driven by funds for the Transition Plan 4.0“. In the meantime, however, the market needs to return at least to pre-pandemic levels: are there the conditions for a recovery by 2024? “Not if the situation remains as it is – adds Frattini – but only in the event that government policies and market dynamics, together, lead to a greater need to intervene on efficiency in the industrial sector following the increase in energy prices. It is the most positive scenario, which we have defined as ‘policy and market driven’ and which could generate a market worth 3.7 billion euros “.

Also from the point of view of greenhouse gas emissions, the ‘policy and market driven’ scenario is the only one that would bring the Italian industrial sector closer, to 2030, to the 40% reduction target contained in the Pniec (but not to that of -55% of the Fit for 55 package), but there is still a long way to go for a consistent decarbonisation of the sector.

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