Batteries, Compressed Air, Hydroelectric, Nuclear, Renewables, Solar, Wind

Italian innovation on display at POWER-GEN International

On Wednesday at POWER-GEN International, a panel sponsored by the Italian Trade Agency presented innovations that are advancing the power industry. The panel explored Electric Vehicles in particular, with an emphasis on how the coming transition to an electrified transportation sector will affect the utility grid and the demand curve. 

Preston Roper, CMO and COO of eMotorworks, an Enel Company, explained that electric vehicle charging stations, when aggregated together, can a very large and highly flexible load. Using smart charging, demand spikes can be reduced as EVs can function as a virtual battery for the utility. 

Mike Reed, Chief Engineer and Technical Director of the Loan Programs Office with the U.S. Department of Energy said that his office is currently managing $30 billion worth of innovative energy projects from solar PV and CSP, to wind, geothermal, advanced nuclear and energy storage technologies. He said that while batteries seem to be getting a lot of attention today, there is still great opportunity for large-scale storage in the form of pumped hydropower and compressed air energy storage. The LPO is actively seeking innovative power generation projects in need of loans. 

Francesco Matteucci, manager of the Emilia Romagna Cluster on Energy and Sustainable development focused part of his presentation on how the transition to electric vehicles is gaining momentum. He said that European emission reduction goals will mean that by 2050 greenhouse gas emissions from transport will need to be at least 60 percent lower than they were in 1990 and be firmly on the path toward zero in order to meet Paris Agreement commitments. 

Anthony Mannara, Head of the Foreign Direct Investment Desk with the Italian Trade Agency explained that Italy is a country in transition and that there are number of older ripe-for-retirement power plants in the nation that need to be transformed into new energy plants. He said the government is willing to sell them — at very low or no cost — to companies with innovative technology who wish to set up businesses in the nation.