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It is “stupid” to use natural gas for heating homes or generating electricity when there are better alternatives, the CEO of Europe’s largest utility told CNBC on Tuesday, noting that gas should be used for industrial processes where it is still irreplaceable.
Europe uses “too much gas” to produce electricity, Francesco Starace, chief executive at Italian power giant Enel, told CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Gas is used “in a stupid way, because burning gas to produce electricity is, today, stupid,” he added.
“You can produce electricity better, cheaper, without using gas ... Gas is a precious molecule and you should leave it for … applications where that is needed,” Starace told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick.
The CEO of Enel—which has pledged to invest tens of billions of dollars in renewables over the next decades—said that gas use should be spared for industry, and reduced in electricity production and in-home heating when there are better alternatives.
“Overall, I think there will be a reduction of gas consumption in Europe across the board coming mostly from those, like I said, ‘stupid’ uses,” Starace told CNBC.
The European Union is looking to reduce its dependence on Russian gas and proposes accelerated energy efficiency and renewable power targets as part of its plan to do so.
Enel, for its part, said in late 2020 that it would invest as much as $171 billion (160 billion euro) by 2030 in boosting renewable power generation, decarbonization, and grid infrastructure as part of a new plan to become a “Super Major” in renewables. At the end of 2021, Enel brought forward by 10 years the goal for decarbonization, and pledged to sell only electricity produced from renewables by 2040. Enel looks to phase out coal-fired generation by 2027, and gas power generation by 2040.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.