Today we suggest our Italian speaking readers two books, recently published by Cooperativa Libraria Universitaria (CLU) and by il Mulino, which we believe could be of great interest.
The first is the new edition of one of the very few textbooks on energy economics available in Italian (in fact there are not many of them even in English). Written by Giancarlo Pireddu, adjunct professor at the University of Pavia, “Economia dell’energia. I fondamenti” is the result of thirty years of teaching and direct professional activity in ENI, AEEG, PwC and at University. It covers in seven long chapters all the main topics in energy economics. After a detailed description of the most important physical and technical aspects of energy (chapter 1), the author considers the structure of final energy demand (ch. 2), the costs and structure of energy supply (ch. 3), the organization and recent developments of international energy markets (ch. 4), the regulation of the electricity and gas industry (ch.5), the reform and liberalization of these same sectors (ch. 6) and the macroeconomic implications of the energy industry (ch. 7). Each chapter is then followed by an appendix that analyses a specific and related issue, such as the description of a national energy balance or the American experience with economic regulation (who writes is also the author of this last appendix).
Due to the level of the analysis provided, the volume is particularly recommended for graduated students that wish to start a systematic study of the subject or as a reference book for professionals of the energy sectors, who probably will appreciate the extensive bibliography, the detailed index and the analytical discussion of some specific topics, with real world numbers and formulae.
Our second suggestion is “Riforme elettriche tra efficienza ed equità”, a miscellaneous book edited by Alberto Clô, Stefano Clô and Federico Boffa, with the support of Acquirente Unico, the Italian single buyer for electricity. The volume includes 22 contributions written by economists and lawyers and is divided in two parts, the first focused on the European level and the second on the more specific Italian case. In both parts, the reform process of the electricity industry in the last two decades is analysed and an assessment of the results achieved so far is given.
Particular emphasis is put on the role of public bodies like the Independent Regulatory Agencies and the policies that support investments in generation and transportation capacity. Finally, attention is paid to the issue of equity, i.e. of the affordable access to energy by vulnerable consumers that are suffering the increase in retail prices. The message here is that a delicate balance between the State and the Market should be achieved in order to ensure that access to electricity, an economic service of general interest, is available to everybody.
Due to its structure and the topics covered, this second book is particularly recommended to professionals involved in the electricity sector and to policy makers that want to get a better knowledge of this policy area and understand what is at stake. It is also a good and updated review for scholars interested in recent developments of the electricity industry. Having this public in mind, the presence of contributions by several authors with different backgrounds and positions should be judged as a plus, since it reflects the various possible views about issues, where a universal consensus among scholars often does not exist and that inevitably embeds a political dimension.