Alessandro Garrone started out as an oilman, but today he is no more.

Today, Erg only produces renewable energy.

“We now have 3.3 billion invested capital of which 80 per cent in wind and 20 per cent in solar,’ says Garrone. ‘We are totally focused on renewables, which will be part of our future. In 2008 we had 20% in wind power out of 2.2 billion invested capital, the rest was oil and natural gas’. A revolution in just a few years.
One can therefore understand why the Genovese businessman thinks two things:
  1. Despite the rediscovery of fossil fuels in the last year, there is no going back. “We are no longer in an emergency, we are gearing up. By next winter for Italy, with more gas imports from other countries and more capacity on renewables, the problem will be reduced. We at Erg have a 3.8 gigawatt pipeline on wind, solar, storage in Italy and in France, the UK, Spain, and Germany’.
  2. It is important for companies in the sector to unite, so that they can face the competition and the market in a more structured way.


On the total choice of renewables, in short, there are no regrets at Erg. Of course there are also problems, which Garrone identifies in two points: tenders and bureaucracy. “We are not sorry to have given up oil,’ the entrepreneur replies to those who ask him whether he regrets not having a refinery now that, with the Russia-Ukraine war, demand for gas and oil has risen. The return to fossil fuels is temporary, due to a situation of necessity. The contribution of renewables will always be greater’. Because, he believes, the choice of alternative sources should not only be linked to combating climate change: ‘There are two other reasons. The first is energy autonomy: ‘If Europe had invested earlier, we would not have found ourselves with the problem of dependence on Russian gas. The second is cost reduction. “Today, producing energy from sources such as solar and wind costs less than from fossil fuels. So incentives are no longer needed. You can produce solar and wind power, depending on the moment, around 80-100 euro per megawatt hour, compared to the higher and more volatile prices of fossil fuels, which can even reach a thousand euro. Renewables are competitive’.

But to reach the UN Agenda’s goals, Italy must run. “We would need to install ten gigawatts per year, only three have been installed and mostly in domestic solar,’ notes Garrone. At this rate we will never reach the 2030 goals. And why are we going slow? “We have very long authorisation times, an average of five years for a wind farm. It is also the fault of a strong misalignment between the regions and central government and excessive bureaucracy: about thirty opinions from institutional offices are needed for the go-ahead. We need to simplify, the regulatory framework must be changed’. Also on government auctions for new renewable energy capacity: ‘The system is inadequate. The tenders are not competitively priced, not adjusted for inflation and the consequent increase in investment costs: therefore nobody participates. In 2022, less than 50 per cent of the allocable capacity in Europe was subscribed’.