The Digital Age and the Open Sea for Renewables

Published on Tuesday, 21 February 2017

“The solar numbers help to understand the trend: the incredible technological development has led to a 90% drop in costs from 2009 to now.”

As concerns new installed capacity, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates 70 more GW of solar in 2016 – the year before it was 56 GW – and 56.5 GW of wind – less than 2015’s 63 GW, but still the second highest figure ever.

For our part, we closed out 2016 by reaching 2 GW of new built capacity, more than double 2015. Enel Green Power also won competitions throughout the world, securing wind, solar and hydroelectric projects from Latin America to Africa and Asia.

2017 has also inherited many directions to evaluate carefully in order to proceed on course. These include the increasing role of two factors that are becoming ever more strategic in the long-term development of the entire sector: digitisation and the integration with other industries and technologies.

Riding the Digital Wave

Speaking of innovation in the renewables sector used to mean concentrating mostly on the technical characteristics of each individual technology: from the yield of the materials of solar panels to the durability of the gears in a wind generator’s gear box.

“Today, digitisation has broadened our business scope enormously, as well as our possibilities of constantly “renewing renewables”. ”

Innovating today means using smart glasses in Operation & Maintenance projects at wind farms or applying Internet of Things solutions for the maintenance and monitoring of hydroelectric plants.

As part of this new digital scenario, for example, there is our choice of acquiring 100% of Demand Energy Networks, an American company specialising in software development and the optimisation of energy storage system management.

Digitisation and automation are at the heart of a revolution that we started a a few years ago.

“Our Big Data platform and cloud management are increasingly essential aspects for our business.”

Every minute, we process more than 300 thousand signals coming from our 1,100 operational plants in 19 countries: 157 billion data a year that allow us to control our machinery for all types of technology, remotely and in real time.

Digital is a strategic choice for improving every segment of our business, from the construction to the operation of plants, from the sharing of know how to the efficiency of internal processes.

The renewables race is made even faster and more competitive now by digital, which helps to define new business models, expands the opportunities of integration between renewables and other industries, while increasing the central role of the consumer.

Every since their beginnings, we’ve always spoken of the “growth of renewables” – and digital will only further increase their limitless possibilities.