This evening, march 5th, the first conference in Milan- Torrescalla Residence. We wait for your attendee comments and debate here!
I just wanted to let you know that in the magazine IEEE Spectrum (December edition) you can find a detailed report of the accident, with some of the consequences that it has had in Japan in terms of environmental impact. On the site of the same magazine you can also find a few updates of the situation.
It is very true what you say about nuclear energy, but I understand the concerns of the population towards this industry. Its dynamics are very complex, and the behavior of both the company and the japanese government have not been as transparent as they could, as Spectrum magazine points out. I really believe that the only way to overcome the prejudices towards nuclear energy is to find a way to really raise awareness towards the topic of Energy and Technology in young people, and then obviously find a better, more responsible, way to convey information to the public.
I agree with you that is a problem of Communication ....from the young generation ...In Italy we have a strange story about Nuke...we were leader in Nuke Technology decades ago, we realized pilot projects in Piedmont , and participated as a partner to Super Phoenix Project in Creys Melville ( France), but we did not make a real Nuke Program , and after Chernobyl disaster we stopped at all. One consideration that I give you is: without any Nuke energy, our Industry and our Country remained in the G8 group...who knows what could have happened with a Program like in France. My feeling is that Italy has his long standing ( 2000+years...) strenght in its DNA. Italians are flexible , creative, and are used to live in difficult situations. This is to say that always can be better, but our Country has the capacity to survive ( among the top countries...) in every situation...this is just history....
I am always really glad to hear these opinions, and every time I see in the news or I read of Italians making something new and revolutionary I feel proud. However, sometimes I wish that we could organize something and reach a goal as a country, a unite system, instead of watching the best Italian innovators compete worldwide all by themselves, or sustained by foreign companies and sponsor. I am looking forward to participate to the start-up conference on March 26 and to hear how much the business incubators and angels are being helped and encouraged by the state or regional government.
I was really impressed by the first lecture of JUMP, it has been a surprise in terms of contents and the guests that participated.
I study Nuclear Engineering and it was quite an opportunity to meet Mr. Adinolfi and to hear what he had to say about the future of the Nuclear Industry in the world and in Italy. I reckon that such a topic would require an entire JUMP module by itself as I have learnt in the past months (I started the MSc in Nuclear Engineering in September) that the industry is particularly complex given the multiple connections occurring between engineering, environment, safety, politics and economics.
Lately I matured the idea that the Nuclear Energy in Italy has not been able to become reality because of its complexity: the internal dynamics and processes involved in both Industry and the single nuclear reactor require several parallel analyses and the ability to develop them, but the real challenge is to find a way to deliver the conclusion to the public opinion with a convincing, comprehensible rationale. As A. Clerici pointed out during the discussion, Italy lacks of a strategic perspective on energy, which I think should address not only technical issues, but also the widespread misinformation on the general topic; how is it possible to implement a capillary strategy if the population does not have the means to understand it?
Well, I think that the energy issue is a complex one and therefore it deserves a complex (not necessarily complicated) solution, for this reason I think that the best option would be investing in both nuclear and alternative energies in order to combine them (and others) to create an efficient mix of resources, depending obviously on the context.
I do not know the quantum photovoltaic technology you are referring to (does it have to do with quantum dots? that's interesting stuff!!), and surely there are many research groups that are working on these things with different results, but I think you should consider what Clerici mentioned last week, that is that one of the main problem of solar energy is the poor ability of the system to satisfy the needs of the grid, given the fact that there are few methods known to store energy in a efficient way. I think that each energy source has its peculiarities, and, again, a well though mix of them (energy strategy???) is the best way to approach the issue.
I suggest you all to read the special report on nuclear energy The Economist has published in its last issue (http://www.economist.com/printedition/2012-03-10).
I leave to you the pleasure to read the interesting articles, but I’d like to summarize some of the most critical points to discuss about:
-while existing reactors can be run very profitably and their capacity can be upgraded and their live extended, nobody will now build a NPP because it is simply too expensive (construction periods have lengthened, prohibitive cost to sustain without some form of subsidy to finance it…).
-NPP will continue to be a creature of politics, not economics.
-makers of nuclear reactors cannot take risks that might compromise safety, and they cannot try lots of different things because it would be too expensive.
I also don’t agree with Clerici’s negative view on renewables in Italy.
It is true that the incentives are high if compared to other countries, but we also have to consider that without them, there would’t have been such a boom of this market because the solar cells are still too expensive to live without incentives.
Let’s look instead at some positive data: Italy will gain almost € 50bn in 10 years through the renewables industry (38bn for avoided import of fossil fuels, 8bn for avoided emissions and 4bn for the new jobs created). Moreover, 60k jobs were created from scratch. If we consider also the allied industries, the numbers will be even higher.
Giovanni I agree with you....the Economist piece is very clear and supportable..
What about last night conference that i've missed?
The conference was a bit more technical than the previous one, particularly the second part on Telecommunications for Smart Grids. Contrarily to the nuclear one, it seems to me that all the technology necessary to implement such a system is already available or on its way to become so..!
Ing. Clerici last week said that it takes a great effort to upgrade the grid because of bureaucracy, and I was wondering if the smart grid infrastructure development is going to be significantly hindered by this fact or eventually the delocalization of the energy production/consumption will overcome this problem?
As soon as I heard from Mr. Descalzo mention the words Smart-building, Smart-cars and Real-time monitoring I thought that it’s just matter of time before the Appstores will be selling tons of apps to control all these devices..!
I wonder if there are startups already working in this field, because on one hand it looks like smart grids require big investments, but on the other the importance of informatic tools in monitoring and interfacing seems like an open door for new ideas!
Giorgio, there are lots of start-ups working on Smart Grids. Most of them raise capital through venture capital funds who believe in their potential and at the first result a multinational (Siemens, Cisco, GE...) acquires them.
And this is good, because if they prove to be succesful in their researchs, they can be substained by bigger companies like the ones mentioned above, which will grant them unlimited space and resources to innovate.
The last Thursday, March 8th, at Politecnico di Milano there has been a conference on SG called "Smart Grid Executive Report", which unfortunately I had not the occasion to attend. From the summaries available online it seems that some companies have already available smart grid products. One of them is SMA, a photovoltaic inverter producer, that is going to release in Italy in the next months a product called "Sunny Home Manager", which has an integrated weather forecast tool and allows the user to manage and optimize the energy produced as well to optimize the home consumption.
P.S. One thing to proudly mention is that the first and largest example of Smart Grid is in the Italian electricity, completed by Enel in 2005. Great proof of Italian minds' smartness!