Renewable energies are the cornerstone of the energy transition and are the most sustainable and long-lasting way to achieve the target of zero emissions, which we have brought forward by ten years to 2040.
“Some time ago we set the ambitious goal of achieving complete decarbonization by 2040 and therefore of producing energy solely from renewable sources and without CO2 emissions. This is also an Italian challenge because the country’s goals are ambitious but achievable if there is a response from the Italian national system, which our Group is accompanying through the energy transition. ”
From the past to the present
The oldest form of electricity generation from renewable sources is hydroelectric power, with the first plants dating back to the end of the 1800s. Geothermal power dates back to the early 1900s: the world’s first geothermal power plant opened in 1911 in Larderello, Tuscany. These historic, established sources are now flanked by more recent technologies such as photovoltaics and wind power, which until just a few decades ago played an almost marginal role. Today, however, it seems clear that these sources are playing leading roles in the ongoing energy transition, thanks mainly to technological innovation. According to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the costs of producing electricity from photovoltaics have fallen by 82% over the last decade, making it a more competitive technology with particularly encouraging prospects.
A key role in this process is played by the expansion and development of new plants and infrastructure. A noteworthy example is the TANGO (iTaliAN pv Giga factOry) project, Enel Green Power’s “Sun factory” created in Catania in 2010, which is about to become Europe’s largest production facility for high performance bifacial photovoltaic modules.
In the coming years, the expansion of the 3Sun Gigafactory will increase its production capacity 15-fold to 3 GW per year compared with the current 200 MW. This success story sees Italy at the forefront of innovation, competitiveness and the revitalization of the photovoltaic value chain in Europe, thus helping to reduce energy dependence.
In addition to increasing the capacity of existing plants, our strategy for the development of renewables in Italy focuses on building new ones. A case in point is the new wind farm in Castelmauro in Molise, which consists of seven 4.2-MW wind turbines, for a total capacity of 29.4 MW. Capable of producing 70 GWh every year from wind power alone, the plant avoids emissions of around 30,000 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Another notable example is the Partanna wind farm under construction in the province of Trapani, where 6 wind turbines will produce up to 40 GWh a year, equal to the energy needs of approximately 10,000 households.
“Castelmauro and Partanna represent a further step forward in our strategy to develop new renewable energy capacity in Italy, thereby helping to achieve the Group’s and Italy’s challenging decarbonization goals.”
Moving on to solar power, we recently began construction on a new photovoltaic plant in the municipality of Trino in the province of Vercelli. Thanks to an impressive 160,000 modules, we’ll be able to generate 86 MW at full capacity. This large scale project, thanks to the presence of a 25-MW electrochemical energy storage system, will be capable of producing 130 GWh each year, avoiding the emission into the atmosphere of around 56,000 metric tons of CO2.
“Thanks to a constructive and positive dialogue with the local area, with this project Trino returns to the forefront of energy production and it will do so in a sustainable way, looking to the future, in line with national, European and global decarbonization and emission reduction goals. ”
There are also emerging technologies with huge potential that can contribute to the energy transition. For example, agrivoltaics is an innovative approach that enables farming practices to coexist and interact positively with solar power generation, creating value for local areas and communities.
Our ongoing commitment also involves promoting the participation and direct involvement of public administrations and citizens with initiatives like Renewable Energy Communities (RECs) for collective self-production and self-consumption, which can generate “energy revenue” that can be redistributed. Some notable examples can be found in Blufi, Ragusa and Calderara di Reno.
“Scelta Rinnovabile”(Renewable Choice), Enel Green Power’s online fundraising program, makes it possible for anyone to participate in the investment needed to build a new renewable plant, with the guarantee of a fixed return on their investment. This program has been launched successfully in the municipalities of Trino, Poggio Renatico, Casei Gerola and Augusta: initiatives like this one make people the direct protagonists and beneficiaries of the energy transition.