Enel’s leadership in renewables

Published on Monday, 23 October 2017

The latest accolade comes from the report “Global Electricity Utilities in transition” by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which analysed the economic performance and financial position of 11 of the world’s most important utilities. According to the report, we together with NextEra, the US wind energy powerhouse, are the two energy utilities that are best interpreting the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

The report compares the world’s main utilities at a time when renewable sources represent a change of course in the energy market. It is a change that very few people would have imagined “just a few years ago,” but which is bound to grow rapidly in coming years. Bloomberg's New Energy Outlook 2017 expects that in 2040 solar and wind energy will account for 48% of the total installed capacity and 34% of electricity generation. The IEA (International Energy Agency) expects a 43% increase in the capacity of renewable electricity already by 2022. According to IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) forecasts, the share of renewables will double by 2030.

The IEEFA report states that renewables have already undermined the traditional business model of utilities in those countries where electricity demand is stable or declining. But even where electricity demand is growing, such as in China and India, the use of coal-fired power plants has been impacted by renewables.

Thanks to an “early awareness of the need for a transition” in the energy market, today approximately half of the electricity that we produce comes from non-fossil sources, with 36 GW of installed capacity from hydropower, wind, geothermal, solar, biomass and cogeneration plants, which make us “one of the most important clean energy producers at a global level.” Zero-emission sources account for 46% of production (Sustainability Report 2016-2019). We aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020 compared to 2007 and to zero them by 2050.

Our commitment to an increasingly sustainable model was recently recognised also by Fortune, which included us in the “Change the World” ranking, as the only utility and only Italian company among the top 50 companies that are improving the life of the planet from a social and environmental point of view. Last September – for the 14th year in a row – Enel was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World). In addition, before the summer, the FTSE4Good index recognised the sustainability of our policies, practices and procedures giving us an overall score of 4.6/5 in the environment, social and governance areas.

The IEEFA report analyses our Group’s ability to grow in the world, especially in Central and South America, with major investments in renewables in Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Argentina.

In Africa, in April 2017, we signed a 25-year power supply agreement with Zesco, the State-owned utility of Zambia, for the construction of the Ngonye1 photovoltaic facility (34 MW). This year, two solar installations in South Africa, Adam and Pulida (82.5 MW), went into operation, in addition to the three existing ones,

In North America, production has started at our largest wind farm, Cimarron Bend (400 MW) in Kansas (USA), where we are present with other four plants, which will soon be joined by the Thunder Ranch wind farm in Oklahoma (300 MW) and Rock Creek (300 MW) in Missouri. In the United States and Canada, Enel Green Power has a combined installed capacity of 3.3 GW in renewables.

In April 2017, we also entered the Australian market with the acquisition and the start of construction of Bungala Solar One (137.7 MW).

Our industrial strategy was inspired by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in the UN 2030 Agenda, basing it on pillars such as sustainability, innovation, digitalisation and the reduction of CO2 emissions in the production mix. This does not translate only into investing heavily in renewable energy, but also into evaluating every single project with a view to Creating Shared Value, from the initial phases, weighing the impact on resources, communities and the environment.

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