Renewables, a journey of growth that’s open to everyone

Published on Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Our plan for the development of renewable energy in Italy gathers pace. A plan focused on building new green facilities and upgrading those that already exist, one which is fully in line with the Group’s two core values: on the one hand, innovation, allowing us to employ the best performing technologies so as to enable the most efficient use of resources; and, on the other, sustainability, with respect to both the environment and local communities, who we are looking to increasingly involve in our projects.

With respect to the objectives for developing clean energy in Italy, over the 2019-2021 three-year period, a system of tenders was announced by the electricity supplier (Gestore dei Servizi Energetici - GSE). This gave operators the opportunity to win - at a particular offered tariff - a long-term contract to generate revenue from the renewable energy produced by their facility. Over the first six rounds of tenders, we were awarded a total capacity of approximately 325 MW across 34 projects, including the upgrading of existing assets - totaling around 135 MW of nominal power output - and new large-scale renewable capacity - totaling around 190 MW. In April, one of these new facilities became operational in Sicily: the Partanna wind farm in Contrada Magaggiari (near Trapani). It consists of six 2.4 MW wind turbines, providing a total capacity of 14.4 MW, which will produce approximately 40 GWh of clean energy each year and stop around 18,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere. The work to develop the wind farm was carried out using state-of-the-art tools that we equipped ourselves as part of our digitalization process, such as virtual site visits and a system for conducting digital monitoring of the worksite. It was also thanks to these innovative techniques that we were able to start energy production just eight months after the commencement of construction operations, despite the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The commissioning of the Partanna wind farm marks a further step forward in our strategy to develop new renewable energy capacity in Italy, thus contributing to the challenging decarbonization objectives set by the Enel Group and the country,” said Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power and Head of the Global Power Generation Division. “Both globally and in Italy, Enel's production of energy from renewable sources is already greater than the amount which it produces from thermal power plants.”

Another major wind farm is also under construction in Molise where, in Castelmauro (near Campobasso), work is underway to build seven wind turbines that will provide a total capacity of around 30 MW. When fully operational, the facility will produce approximately 70 GWh of renewable energy each year, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 36,000 tons in the process.

“By commencing construction of the Castelmauro facility, we are confirming our commitment to developing renewable energy in Italy, thus contributing to the energy transition process that will lead us to the power generation of the future,” Bernabei went on to say. “In line with the Group's global objectives, as well as those of the country, we intend to continue along this path in order to accelerate the gradual replacement of fossil fuels with zero-emission fuels.”

The construction of two further wind farms, which also featured in the GSE’s auctions, has begun; these will be built in Campania and will provide a total capacity of approximately 50 MW.

Enel Green Power's continuous commitment to the development of renewable sources to support the country's decarbonization activities is conducted via a process that ensures we listen carefully to and strongly involve the local communities that host our facilities: this is our strategy. It’s inspired by the Creating Shared Value (CSV) model, through which the value generated by the company always brings benefits for the local residents and communities.

To this end, in September we launched the "Renewable Choice" program for the first time in Italy. It’s an online crowdfunding initiative that gives all residents the opportunity to invest in the development of new renewable facilities. In so doing, each of us can play a role in the country's energy transition process while simultaneously gaining access to a fixed return from the investment that we choose to make in supporting the construction of new green facilities. Participants are free to choose the amount they wish to invest, depending on their preferences, up to a maximum amount for each, thus giving all those interested the opportunity to take part in the initiative: for the first project it was set from a minimum of €100 up to a maximum of €5,000 and the gross return was fixed at 5.5% per year for residents of the areas in which the facility was constructed and 4.5% for all other interested parties, over a time period of 3 years. The program was open to local residents only for the first two weeks, after which it was opened to all residents of Italy who are over 18.

“The aim of this project is to facilitate the energy transition process by giving people the opportunity to actively contribute towards securing a more sustainable future, while simultaneously sharing the benefits arising from the presence of new renewable facilities in their local area,” said Eleonora Petrarca, Enel Green Power’s Head of Business Development Italy.

The first program was launched on September 30, 2021 for the Poggio Renatico photovoltaic plant, which is now under construction in the province of Ferrara. It will provide capacity of approximately 17 MW, reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 11,000 tons every year, and guarantee the supply of renewable energy to around 8,300 households. And it was a success: in the two weeks during which only the local residents could take part, the fund-raising target of € 100,000 was fully reached. In light of this level of interest, we decided to double the fund-raising cap, and this second tranche, which was open to residents throughout Italy, was reached even more quickly, taking just one day. This is clear evidence of the fact that people are increasingly aware that they can play an active role in achieving a sustainable future.

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