Research & Innovation

At the Politecnico there is discussion on energy security

4 July 2017

Ensuring the availability of end-use energy in all its forms (petroleum derivatives, natural gas, electricity and heat, to name the main ones) is crucial to any society and is particularly critical for those countries which, like Italy, are heavily dependent on imports. In 2015, the total national energy requirement was 156.2 Mtoe (millions of tons of oil equivalent), of which the majority was covered by imports, particularly for some strategic commodities such as natural gas and petroleum products. Dependence on imports in Italy totalled 77.1%, against a European average (EU28) of 54.0% and in any case lower values for some of the other main countries of the Union, such as Germany (61.9%), France (46.0 %), United Kingdom (37.4%) and Spain (73.7%).

In this reference scenario, the issue of energy security was the subject of the meeting on “Assessment and Management of National Energy Security” organised on 3 July by the Politecnico, in collaboration with the Security Intelligence Department (DIS) of the Prime Minister's Office. The discussion was opened by the contributions of the Director General of DIS, Alessandro Pansa and the Rector of the Politecnico di Torino, Marco Gilli. There were also speeches by Professors Romano Borchiellini, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Turin Energy Center, Francesco Profumo, President of Compagnia di San Paolo and Department of Energy and Ettore Bompard, Department of Energy and scientific coordinator of the collaboration initiative. Among the testimonies of the day were academics and representatives of the main Italian companies in the energy sector, including ENI, Enel, Terna and ENEA.

The meeting was organised within the scope of the partnership between DIS and the Politecnico, which is part of the broader framework of relations of the Department with Italian Universities, which constitutes a veritable “strategic alliance for national security” in a field, that of energy security, which fully falls within the intelligence mission of protecting the national system, pooling all its resources for protecting “national security” in the broader sense.

With the signing of an agreement in March 2017, the Security Intelligence Department (DIS) and the Politecnico di Torino started a collaboration aimed at promoting a reflection on issues of common interest deemed to have strategic relevance for national security.

In this phase, the collaboration is aimed in particular at fostering scientific debate on the definition of the energy dimension of national security, with particular reference to regulatory issues and exploration of the frontiers of overlapping of energy issues and a wider range of economic, environmental and social issues.

The collaboration between DIS and the Politecnico therefore has the objective of extending the strategic reflection on the energy dimension of national security. An area which may call upon, in a participatory security perspective, also public and private industry players able to also provide the significant contribution of experience deriving from market activity and network management to the scientific and academic vision.

Within the scope of the collaboration between the Politecnico and DIS, the activity of the “Lab for Security of Energy Sources, Corridors and Infrastructures” has been launched, whose main task will be to develop and compare quantitative methods and models for the evaluation and management of national energy security. The laboratory is part of the Energy Center initiatives of the Politecnico.