It’s not a secret that climate change is causing havoc all over the globe.
In recent days, Italy has been experiencing an unprecedented heat wave, with record temperatures of up to 46 degrees Celsius.
In central and southern Italy, reports of widespread blackouts are multiplying, which in some cases, such as in the cities of Rome and Catania, have left entire neighborhoods without power for more than 14 hours.
The cause is to be found precisely in the anomalous heat wave that has hit the Italian Peninsula, increasing the load on the power grid (due to the need to keep air conditioners on) and causing severe instability.
But is there a way to escape the vicious cycle we seem destined to enter soon?
The answer is not simple, but it may come from renewable energy sources and the energy storage industry.
1. The link between climate change and extreme weather events
Climate change has altered weather patterns worldwide, leading to more frequent and intense extreme weather events. Italy has not been immune to this phenomenon, experiencing severe heatwaves, storms, and even unexpected cold snaps.
The changing climate puts immense stress on Italy’s power infrastructure. Heatwaves can lead to increased energy demands for cooling, overwhelming the grid, and causing it to fail. On the other hand, heavy storms can damage power lines and substations, leaving thousands without electricity.
As if that were not enough, Sicily in recent hours has also had to struggle with emergencies caused by vast fires that, in some cases, have led to the destruction of homes, infrastructures (including electrical cabinets) and natural heritages of inestimable value to humanity.
This is a serious threat to all those weak groups of the population (the sick, the elderly, infants) and critical facilities in the country such as hospitals, offices and businesses that are forced to take drastic measures to “survive” these increasingly frequent and intense extreme events.
In this scenario, renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal power, play a crucial role in balancing the grid and ensuring a stable energy supply.
Unlike traditional fossil fuel-based power generation, renewable sources are often intermittent, dependent on weather conditions and natural cycles. However, this very characteristic can be leveraged to the grid’s advantage.
For instance, during periods of high solar or wind energy production, excess energy can be stored in energy storage systems like batteries. This stored energy can then be released during peak demand periods or when renewable production is low, effectively smoothing out fluctuations in supply and demand.
So, by integrating renewable energy into the grid, Italy can enhance grid flexibility and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, ultimately leading to a more resilient and sustainable energy system.
2. Embracing renewable energy sources
Solar energy is a game-changer when it comes to renewable sources. Italy is blessed with abundant sunlight, making solar panels a highly viable option. By harnessing the power of the sun, Italy can significantly reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and decrease the risk of blackouts.
Wind energy is another fantastic renewable resource that Italy can tap into. The country’s coastal areas and elevated regions offer perfect conditions for wind turbines. By integrating wind power into the grid, Italy can ensure a more stable and sustainable energy supply.
Italy is home to numerous rivers and water bodies, making hydroelectric energy a promising option. This clean and reliable energy source can provide a steady stream of power, reducing the vulnerability of the grid to climate-induced disruptions.
Italy sits atop geothermal hotspots, which can be tapped into to generate electricity. Geothermal power plants can operate 24/7, providing a stable power supply regardless of weather conditions.
Green hydrogen is a groundbreaking energy carrier that holds immense promise in the quest for a carbon-neutral future. It is produced through a process called electrolysis, where water is split into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity generated from renewable energy sources like solar and wind.
The resulting hydrogen is entirely clean and emits no greenhouse gases during its production or usage. This remarkable characteristic makes green hydrogen a highly sought-after solution for decarbonizing various sectors, including transportation, industry, and power generation.
Italy, with its commitment to embracing renewable energy, can harness the potential of green hydrogen to further bolster its efforts in achieving a sustainable and low-carbon energy landscape. By investing in the production and integration of green hydrogen into the energy mix, Italy can unlock new opportunities for energy storage, mitigating intermittency issues of renewables and contributing significantly to the global transition towards a greener future.
3. Overcoming challenges in adopting renewable energy with BaxEnergy
Of course, transitioning to renewable energy sources requires significant upfront investments in infrastructure. Many businesses and policymakers are hesitant due to these initial costs. Another opposition to face is that renewable energy sources, as said before, are intermittent by nature.
This means that renewable power generation depends on weather conditions, posing a challenge to maintain a constant energy supply. This is where BaxEnergy comes into play!
We provide software solutions for the visualization, analysis and optimization of cross-technology renewable energy power plants distributed all over the world. Our R&D center in Catania, located within the International Cooperation Hub Free Mind Foundry, plays a crucial role in driving Italy’s and Europe’s energy transition and Industry 4.0 era. Our mission is to make renewable energy easier, more efficient, affordable and secure.
Recently, BaxEnergy has developed technologies and products for energy trading, power forecasting, industrial battery storage management and other solutions for the management and monitoring of charging stations for electric vehicles.
4. The role of energy storage
Investing in advanced energy storage solutions can help mitigate the intermittency of renewable sources. Batteries and other storage technologies can store excess energy when production is high and release it during peak demand, ensuring a stable power grid.
Eni Plenitude, part of the large oil and gas major Eni, has recently put into operation a 15MW/9MWh battery storage unit in Italy. The utility arm of the large firm announced the project in Assemini, Cagliari, was operational on the 7th of June.
The grid-scale battery energy storage market in Italy is set to become one of Europe’s most active in the coming years, having been largely non-existent until now.
5. The need for global cooperation: learning from success stories
The impact of climate change is not limited to national boundaries; it’s a global challenge that requires collaborative efforts from all nations. Italy’s pursuit of renewable energy and grid optimization is undoubtedly commendable, but true effectiveness can only be achieved through global cooperation.
Many countries have already made great strides in adopting renewable energy and implementing smart energy management software solutions. BaxEnergy has already made a difference in more than 20 countries around the world, but we are still striving to achieve our goal of shaping a greener future for each of us.
Italy and other countries can learn from these success stories and adopt similar strategies tailored to their specific geographical and energy demands, in order to tackle the rising energy demand and the negative effects of climate change.
In conclusion, the increasing frequency of blackouts in Italy due to climate change is a stark reminder of the urgent need for action. By embracing renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydroelectric, hydrogen and geothermal power, Italy can not only reduce its carbon footprint but also safeguard its power grid against climate-induced disruptions. It’s time for Italy to take a bold step towards a more sustainable future and BaxEnergy will be ready to offer its expertise to reach this goal!