Alternative fuels: a strategic option for the Euro-Mediterranean area?
The recent geopolitical crisis between Russia and Ukraine is imposing a relevant and fast modification of the energy paradigm in the Mediterranean region, also changing the order of priority among the three main energy attributes (sustainability, security, equity). In particular, the emergency actions put in place for facing the contingent issues determined by the crisis are strengthening the fossil-based energy dialogue across the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, in the long run, the strategical policy choices cannot ignore the need for balancing these three key attributes. In this sense, the exploitation of locally available renewable resources could lead to benefits not just in terms of increasing sustainability, but also with reference to supply security and social equity. In this framework, electricity from renewables is expected to assume the central role in building a new “green” dialogue. However, this commodity could not assure by itself the complete decarbonisation of the Mediterranean energy systems. The presence of the so-called “hard-to-abate” final energy uses requires, in fact, a synergy between electricity and other commodities. Among them, a non-negligible role could be played by the alternative fuels (both biofuels and synthetic fuels), whose exploitation fits well with a circular economy approach and which could be especially helpful in supporting the decarbonisation of the long-distance maritime and aviation transport. The goal of the 2022 edition of the ENEMED Report is to investigate the potential contribution of these fuels to the energy transition process of the Mediterranean, looking at them not as possible alternative to electricity, but under a cooperative perspective, aiming at creating an integrated system able to speed up the transition pathway.