“The energy transformation underway requires innovation in business practices. With its vast commitment and its skills in the field of smart meters and energy management systems, Enel is becoming the utility of the future.”
Enel’s strength is shown by the numbers EGP brings to the Group. In 2018 alone, it produced 100 TWh of renewable energy, with a growth rate of 3,000 MW a year, thanks to over 1,200 plants in operation in 30 countries and a close-knit team of about 7,000 people.
But EGP’s birthday was also a chance to talk about the challenges and opportunities for the re-launch of renewables in Italy, with a 5-person debate moderated by Matteo Di Castelnuovo, Director of the Master’s in Green Management, Energy and CSR (MaGER) at SDA Bocconi. Participants included Roberto Moneta, CEO of GSE; Simone Mori, President of Elettricità Futura; Andrea Peruzy, President and CEO of Acquirente Unico and Luigi Ferraris, CEO and Director General of Terna.
EGP’s Renewable Future
Sustainability, innovation and digitalization are the key words for EGP’s strategy around the world. This strategy came to life in Italy, where EGP has its roots. Over the years, it has successfully spread all around the world, with one objective: guiding the energy transition toward a 100% renewable future.
Already in 2021, for example, more than half of the energy generated by the Group will come from renewable sources, moving the company closer to its objective of Carbon Neutrality, set for 2050.
“We are entering a new transition phase: in the coming decade, generation will be renewable above all, with less and less from thermal plants.”
In recent years, renewable energy has established itself not only for the greater sustainability it guarantees, but also because it has reached levels of efficiency and affordability twenty years ahead of time, making it spread faster.
EGP and Italy: A Combination Made with Sustainability and Innovation
In just ten years of life, EGP has become the global leader in renewables. But its roots are firmly planted in Italy, especially where technology is concerned. The geothermal source at Larderello, for example, now in use for two hundred years, is a symbol of Italy’s skill in innovating the energy field, as are the large dams from the last century, which still provide green energy to national production today.
Strengthened by a decade-long history and hundred-year-old traditions, Enel Green Power now manages about 14 GW of installed renewable power in Italy, including hydroelectric, geothermal, photovoltaic and wind.
This is a group of resources to be preserved and renovated, thanks to repowering and technological innovation.
And that’s not all, because Enel Green Power’s expansion around the world has also triggered the growth of a long supply chain of local companies over the years. These satellite businesses are made up of reliable and dynamic entities that, by testing new technologies and innovations, are ready to contribute to the re-launch of renewable sources in Italy and for the global market challenge.
“Enel Green Power was born in Italy, where we sort of started out behind, because some nations had already set sustainability goals. But today, we’ve exceeded expectations. We moved forward quickly and never stopped. The world has started to change, opening up a new scenario where renewables are becoming more competitive.”
Green Italy According to EGP
The conference “Enel Green Power: 10 Years of Renewables in Italy and the World” was a valuable chance to discuss climate change, the current structure of the markets and authorisation procedures and macro-trends that play an important role in the challenge of decarbonization.
“Doubling the electricity demand met with renewable sources by 2030: it can be done efficiently by reducing costs. When it wants to, Italy knows how to do things right”
Enel Green Power, focusing on innovation and digitalization, is ready to contribute to the re-launch of green energy in Italy, formalising all the skills and know-how already present in the country.
Thanks to synergies between the public and private sectors, there’s a new impetus for the spread of renewable energy sources that, due to significantly reduced costs and the widespread attention to sustainability from consumers, are destined to become an ethical value more and more.
And that’s not all! We are facing a change in mindset represented by Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), customised contracts for long-term electricity supply, which allow partners, associations and investors to put sustainability first, becoming more attractive on the market.
PPAs are revolutionary tools to help give energy a new face. They are already common in some parts of the world. Now the challenge is to make them a reality in Italy, too.
“Clear choices of industrial policy are needed. There are ambitious sustainability goals, in favour of renewables and decarbonization, but without industrial policy actions, these objectives will remain a dream.”
Innovation and Sustainability in Italy
The challenge of the near future is marked by digitalization, big data and artificial intelligence.
An all-Italian example is the innovative factory in Catania, 3SUN: the first factory in the world to exclusively produce the HJT bifacial photovoltaic panel, based on heterojunction technology (the junction of two different types of silicon, amorphous and crystalline) and with particularly high performance. This factory, together with the Innovation Lab, makes up Enel’s Sicilian technology hub and will become a place for innovation and an accelerator for young entrepreneurship, sure to stimulate research in the energy sector.
“The Italian system has done a lot in terms of renewables and is objectively ahead of other European countries in technology, skills and production. Now, we mustn’t rest on our laurels – instead, we have to quickly resume the virtuous path so that these technologies, both to be more sustainable and to further reduce costs, are there and are accessible to everyone.”
Also in Italy, EGP is testing new storage technologies, with the goal of being more and more competitive. A key area will be storage integrated with renewables: flow batteries, now near commercialization, will be a valid alternative to lithium batteries in the future, especially for seasonal storage.
In addition to the sun, the wind still has much to say on the future of Italian renewables.
A wind generator, besides being an inexhaustible source of energy, is also an enormous source of data. New technologies have made it possible to collect this in order to understand the generator’s health status and performance curve more precisely. Enel Green Power has a series of innovative projects underway in Italy, involving wind plants from the north to the south, with the goal of improving efficiency and the predictive maintenance process.