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Snam: discussions on the hydrogen challenge in the green economy and the importance of ESG factors for business held at international conference in Rome

  • Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli and Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Manlio Di Stefano attended today. Minister for European Affairs Vincenzo Amendola is participating tomorrow
  • Snam-McKinsey study presented: Hydrogen has potential to fulfil almost a quarter of Italy’s total energy demand in 2050 in a 95% decarbonisation scenario
  • Signed agreements on research and innovation with Israel and the National Research Council
  • Testing of a 10% hydrogen and natural gas mix in the transmission grid at Contursi Terme, in Campania, Southern Italy, by year-end
  • Launch of Snam Plastic Less program to eliminate disposable plastic from industrial packaging and beverage distributors at all company sites
  • New ESG factors Observatory launched for collaborative reflection and sharing best practice initiatives

Hydrogen challenge

Rome, 10 October 2019 - Hydrogen’s potential as a future clean energy carrier in the fight against climate change, along with growing integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into business strategies were issues focused on at “The Hydrogen Challenge - 2019 Global ESG Conference”, taking place today and tomorrow in Rome under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the National Research Council and hosted by Snam. The conference was attended by Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, welcomed by Snam Chairman Luca Dal Fabbro and CEO Marco Alverà.

Hydrogen challenge

Among others, the Italian Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli and the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Manlio Di Stefano participated in the event. The President of the European Parliament David Sassoli participated via video message. Other participants included Apostolic Nuncio Emil Paul Tscherrig, the President of the ARERA (Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment) Stefano Besseghini, the Executive Director of the IEA (International Energy Agency) Fatih Birol, the COP26 President Claire Perry, the Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund Europe Bryony Katherine Worthington, the Principal Adviser to the Director General for Energy of the European Commission Tudor Constantinescu, the General Director of IRENA Francesco La Camera, the President of S&P Global Market Intelligence Martina Cheung, the Managing Director of Blackrock Eduard Ruijs and the CEO of Microsoft Italia Silvia Candiani. The Chairman of State Grid Corporation of China Kou Wei sent a video message. Allianz Global Investors, BNPP AM, BofA Merrill Lynch, DNV GL, Enagas, Northern Gas Networks, Nuovo Pignone, Rina, Sapio and Unicredit also participated. At tomorrow’s event, which will be opened by speeches by the Italian Minister for European Affairs, Vincenzo Amendola and Secretary General of Hydrogen Europe Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, interactive round tables are planned with some of the leading companies in the hydrogen supply chain at an Italian and international level.

In the course of today’s debate, the role of renewable gases, and in particular hydrogen in combating climate change and air pollution were discussed. Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, does not generate climate-changing and polluting emissions in its various uses and can be transported and stored using existing infrastructures. According to the Hydrogen Council association, of which Snam is also a part, the value of the hydrogen economy is set to increase from around 100 billion dollars a year today to 2.5 trillion dollars in 2050.

Snam-McKinsey study presented

In Italy, hydrogen has great development prospects due to the significant natural potential for the production of solar and wind energy, from which it is possible to obtain “green hydrogen” through water electrolysis, and the existing capillary gas transmission network. According to a Snam-McKinsey study, presented today along with the book “Generation H” by Marco Alverà, hydrogen could fulfil almost a quarter (23%) of national energy demand by 2050 in a 95% decarbonisation scenario (necessary to meet the global warming containment target within 1.5°), more than the current combined market share of electricity generated from renewable and fossil fuels (20% in 2018). This growth could occur thanks to the decrease in the cost of producing solar and wind renewable electricity and also the simultaneous reduction in the cost of electrolysers, determined by the production of green hydrogen on a large scale. The transport (trucks, buses and trains) and residential (heating) sectors and some industrial applications (refining and high-heat processes) are those that have the highest potential to use hydrogen.

In April this year, in Contursi Terme (Salerno), Southern Italy, Snam was the first company in Europe to test a mixture of 5% hydrogen and natural gas in the transmission grid serving two industrial companies in the area. Snam’s commitment to hydrogen is part of the Snamtec project, launched as part of the strategic plan to 2022 and featuring 850 million euro of investments in energy transition and innovation.

Snam CEO Marco Alverà commented: “Hydrogen can play an important role in decarbonisation and in the fight against climate change and we need a common commitment from all stakeholders, from institutions to companies, to foster its development on a large scale. Italy should be at the forefront, thanks to its entrepreneurial and research skills, capillary gas infrastructure and geographical position. According to our studies, in a scenario of high levels of decarbonisation, hydrogen could cover almost a quarter of national energy consumption by 2050. For this reason, we are continuing our experimentation in Campania and by the end of the year we will introduce a mix in the natural gas transmission network of 10% hydrogen. The regions of Southern Italy, from Campania to Apulia to Sicily, rich in renewable energy, are those that could champion hydrogen as a new carrier of clean energy as well as bringing new opportunities for development and employment”.

Agreements with Israel Innovation Authority and CNR

Snam CEO Marco Alverà signed two agreements on sustainable energy and innovation. The first, signed in the presence of Israel’s ambassador to Italy Dror Eydar, is a memorandum of understanding with the Israel Innovation Authority (The National Technological Innovation Authority) aimed at fostering collaboration between Snam and Israeli companies, in particular start-ups, in innovative technologies serving the green economy.

The second, signed with President of the National Research Council (CNR) Massimo Inguscio, is a Snam-CNR framework agreement aimed at planning and analysis for the development of hydrogen and in general of renewable gases and sustainable mobility. The collaboration facilitates the launch of a joint working group to evaluate compatibility studies of increasing amounts of hydrogen in gas infrastructure and mobility, analysis of carbon dioxide capture, transport and storage processes, new technologies in the biomethane sector and in general of low-carbon gas.

Snam Plastic Less program launched

With Chairman Luca Dal Fabbro, today Snam also announced the launch of the “Snam Plastic Less” program. The initiative aims to reduce the use of plastic in industrial packaging by 2023 by 100% and to eliminate single-use plastic in beverage dispensers in all company locations by 2020.

ESG Permanent Observatory promoted with LUISS

The program is set in the context of the growing integration of ESG factors in Snam’s business. Last May, the company, the first in Italy, launched a new committee of the Board of Directors dedicated entirely to ESG issues. With the aim of promoting the dissemination of Environmental, Social and Governance factors within companies and in particular on the Boards of Directors, Snam has created a permanent ESG Observatory. The aim is to initiate collaborative reflection on ESG issues and to define best practices with other Italian listed companies. In recent months, in collaboration with LUISS University, the Observatory has carried out a first survey with a sample of 20 European companies aimed at understanding the nature, roles, involvement and impact of the Boards of Directors committees in guiding investments and management according to the ESG principles.

Snam Chairman Luca Dal Fabbro commented: “It is vital that attention to Environmental, Social and Governance factors be increasingly integrated into companies’ management. At Snam we want to be among the pioneers of this journey in which Europe and Italy can be global leaders. For this reason, following the recent establishment of a committee of the Board of Directors dedicated exclusively to ESG factors, we have launched an Observatory focused on strengthening awareness of these issues, monitoring progress and reporting best practice among listed companies in Italy and in Europe. Consistent with our commitment to ESG factors and the energy transition, today we announce the Plastic Less program to eliminate disposable plastic from industrial packaging and beverage distributors throughout the company. We are certain that integration of ESG factors is an extraordinary opportunity for companies and an improvement driver for long-term value creation”.

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updated
17 October 2019 - 14:13 CEST