“I think that by 2050, we can have a European system that would be fully electrified,” he told the energy website Recharge. “Is it possible? For sure. Is it possible only with renewables and nuclear? Probably yes, to 98-99%.”
Starace said there would always be exceptions in terms of providing a centralised system of power supply.
“In 2050, you will also have someone driving a car with an internal combustion engine in it, [in the same way] as today, you have people riding horses,” he told Recharge. “But for the purpose of normal life and society at large, it is going to be electrified.”
Europe, he said, would need considerable, but possible, investment to modernise electricity networks to meet growing demand.
“ Massive investments will be needed to upgrade the power grids to handle the greater demand for electricity in certain places, but this is not difficult to do,” he told the website.
“ To upgrade the network means to build more [power] lines and build more substations and digitising the systems. It’s not about technologies we don’t have, it’s just the question of doing it… of putting in more cables or larger cables. It’s a question of just putting more money and people to work…”
According to data from Eurelectric, in order to meet demand a total of 425 billion euros will have to be invested in distribution networks.
In any event, Starace said, modernising networks will cost less than relying on an energy system dependent on gas or blue hydrogen.
He said Europe had every opportunity – resources and potential sites – for new projects with renewable energy.
The biggest obstacle, Starace said, was securing regulatory permission.
“The systems we have inherited from the past — the procedures and processes that govern the agreement around new installations — are not at par with this acceleration. So there is a bottleneck in the permitting,” Recharge quoted him as saying.