International Law

Renato Conti on Waste Management and Renewable Energies: An Italian Perspective

By Renato Conti


Accessing low-cost electric energy is a pre-condition for most fundamental human rights recognized by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the "Declaration") and the Italian Constitution. Both providing affordable energy and managing the waste produced by industrial societies, however, is crucial to future generations. As such, developing renewable energy sources and transforming waste material into energy is a primary task. Yet, environmental concerns and financial instability can impair the capacity to develop a long-term business plan for such technologies. Nonetheless, the waste-to-energy paradigm in Italy might still represent a viable business. It also generates a brand-new world for the legal practitioner, as laws and regulations are changing quickly and even local rules may not be homogeneous.

Energy as a Pre-condition to Liberty

Most of the "liberties to" 1 established by the Declaration are predicated upon the free access to (electric) energy at an affordable price. This is not exactly a right to energy, but is a robust pre-condition for social development. The current level of technological development, however, does not generate sufficient energy without resorting to sources such as fossil hydrocarbons or nuclear fission, which might represent a serious environmental hazard. 

n1 Declaration, Articles 22 - 27. 

About the Author:

Renato Conti is currently the General Counsel of the Italian public utility ACEA SpA, which operates in water and waste-water management, the generation and distribution of electric energy, and in the waste-to-energy business. He was formerly the General Counsel for Telespazio, the satellite-telecommunication company of the Telecom Italia group, as well as in-house counsel for STET, the holding company of the Italian public telephone operator.

Mr. Conti is author of several papers addressing M&A, regulation and antitrust issues. He speaks internationally and at post-graduate courses for business lawyers and in-house counsel. subscribers can access the complete commentary, Renato Conti on Waste Management and Renewable Energies: An Italian Perspective.  Additional fees may be incurred. (approx. 6 pages)

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