The Future of Electric Grid | Enel Group
We're building the electricity grids of the future
Welcome to Enel Grids. Your energy, wherever you are: we're the world's first private electricity distribution operator.
who are involved in the construction and management of our infrastructure
of electricity lines in eight countries
of energy distributed in 2021: that’s the equivalent of Germany’s annual electricity consumption
For 20 years we've been committed to creating a knowledge ecosystem for developing network digitalization. We're now the benchmark in terms of smart metering, thanks to more than 45 million smart meters installed on our electricity grids throughout the world, and we're designing new automation systems for our distribution networks in order to meet the growing demand for energy. By 2024 we aim to reach 81 million grid customers, 63% of whom will be digitalized, thanks to the world’s most advanced smart meter technology developed by Gridspertise. At a global level we will thus have more than 48 million installations in our networks. At the same time, we're working on the implementation of an innovative, integrated platform operating model in order to comprehensively manage our networks, leveraging the opportunities offered by digitalization and emerging technologies.
Our Vision: Grid Futurability®
Grid Futurability® is the global and customer-oriented industrial approach that Enel is adopting in order to renew, reinforce and expand its grids over the coming years.
It involves the strategic deployment of technologies in order to make better use of existing power networks and to build fully digital Smart Grids. It combines robust infrastructure with advanced technological solutions to make them more resilient, participatory and sustainable.
Grid Futurability® sets out an investment plan for both urban and rural areas. It harmonizes short-term and long-term strategic needs, maximizing benefits and stakeholder satisfaction, while lowering the carbon footprint of our network assets.
Resilience is the key
Reliable and climate-proof grids for an electrified world
More and more stakeholders will depend on electricity in the future, and for this reason distribution grids need to be increasingly resilient. This is also on account of climate change, and the extreme operating conditions it can cause. Enel Grids is constantly enhancing the reliability of our service, leveraging both disruptive technologies and innovative projects. The Enel Group has earmarked 70 billion euros for investment in distribution grids from 2021 to 2030 and for further improving the quality and resilience of the infrastructure (62% of the total investments over the period).
This approach, in the short term, will impact on the following priority targets:
- improvement of lead time for connection services by means of higher operational performance;
- reduction of the claims for Power Outages. The quality of service can be improved by up to 216 minutes, in terms of the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI): this will lead to an improvement of 11% in 2024, with respect to 2021.
Participation and Stakeholders’ engagement
Unlocking new opportunities with flexibility
Grids will be the cornerstone for ensuring that electricity networks develop into inclusive and participatory platforms. They will become a genuine system operator for suppliers, regulatory and financial institutions, customers, aggregators and prosumers. This will mark the start of a new era, in which all stakeholders can act equally, optimizing services and business solutions, technologies and processes and evolving thanks to Enel’s digital technologies.
In this scenario, Distribution System Operators (DSOs) will have a new and more flexible role. They will orchestrate the different actors in the energy context, such as electricity generators, retailers, prosumers, EV charging operators or aggregators of distributed energy resources.
The Grid Futurability® approach will promote more active participation by customers and stakeholders in the electrification of world economies. It will also make a decisive contribution to the Net-Zero ambitions of cities and nations, managing the energy demand growth through new electricity connections. Furthermore, it will ensure affordable energy access for vulnerable customers and enable them to play a more proactive role in accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sustainability with a holistic approach
Delivering green energy while embracing circularity
The Grid of the Future will embed sustainability into the business, together with innovative and inclusive circular economy solutions.
Enel Grids has embraced the principles of circularity by design, making them mandatory requirements in the supply of fundamental components of the distribution network (such as transformers, panels, switches and cables). The aim is to maximize the use of recycled material along the supply chain, and reduce global warming potential by defining a pathway for improvement to reduce emissions, or offset them when that isn’t possible.
The Enel Group is committed to SDG 7 (“Affordable and Clean Energy”) as part of a just energy transition that leaves no one behind. We therefore foster electrification in both rural and urban areas as universal energy access is one of the main driving forces for alleviating poverty and ensuring sustainable and economic growth. Moreover, we build on a business-integrated culture of innovation with a strong ecosystem of startups, social entrepreneurs and partners. We have an open-source approach to “Innovability®” through the creation of communities and collaborative hubs. This improves the quality of the results, thanks to close cooperation involving different sectors and types of expertise.
Why Innovation Works
We are developing a network that’s open to innovation, and an ecosystem that encourages contamination for innovative solutions that meet the new needs of the energy transition.
Innovation on the grid is pursued through continuous openness to industrial partners, universities, research centers, startups, scale-ups and professionals. In order to complete a virtuous circle in which all the actors involved can reap rewards, it is necessary to have the conscious and proactive involvement of all of them. We work closely with them in developing ideas for transforming our networks.
Our international network of Enel Hubs & Labs is an important enabler for our Open Innovation approach. In particular, the hub in Tel Aviv, which is located in one of the most attractive and dynamic startup ecosystems in the world, allows us to collaborate with innovative startups and partners in finding business opportunities in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and New Sustainable Materials while accelerating their development within our Innovation Lab. Furthermore, we pay particular attention to the Flexibility Lab initiative, which fosters operational grid flexibility by promoting an open dialogue among all the stakeholders about innovation and technologies at the service of flexibility. This is in line with our commitment to jointly creating a net zero grid.
Open Innovation for a net-zero future
The increasing level of infrastructure digitalization, combined with technological advances in computing and real-time communication capabilities, is at the center of the transformation of our grids’ global operating model. It is our ambition to make sure that all our customers are digitalized by 2030. Indeed, thanks to investments in digitalization, amounting to 13% of our total investments in the period 2021-30, our customers will gradually have more control over their energy flows.
In embracing an Open Innovation approach, we firmly believe it is essential to make our expertise available, opening up to the world the technologies and innovations that have been integrated in our grids over the years, such as Quantum Computing, Quantum Edge, Network Digital Twin® and data analytics models for grid operations.
As a concrete example of this proposition, by leveraging our 20 years of experience in building and managing smart grids, in September 2021, we decided to create a new company with a complete focus on innovation and the industrialization of grid solutions: Gridspertise. The company aims to transform distribution grids worldwide into sustainable and reliable smart infrastructure, thereby providing benefits for the entire electric ecosystem.
Grid Blue Sky
Grid Blue Sky is the new global operating model that Enel is adopting for the management of its power distribution business at a global level.
The model, which is based on homogeneous processes, organizational structures and a single platform technological architecture, places customer empathy at the center of our value chain, with a new concept of service for our grid customers.
Grid Blue Sky enables the integrated and efficient management of the networks in all our geographies, making this possible for the first time under a unified model. This is thanks to a digital solutions platform that makes global energy management more efficient than ever, enabling the final customer to move to a new electric lifestyle that is simple, fast, and safe.
Thanks to Grid Blue Sky, the relationship with our clients is evolving, and this is enabling them to embrace electrification as the simplest, most reliable and sustainable energy choice.
Everyone has the power to change the future.
The Open Power Grids Association
During the last decade Enel has pursued the convergence of technical solutions for its power networks toward Global Standards so as to make them more efficient, safe, and sustainable. In order to move forward quickly we need to share the effort of identifying the best technical solution with other actors, in an open and collaborative environment. In this way we can deliver sustainable infrastructures for a net-zero future.
Indeed, it is only by engaging the other grid stakeholders that we will be able to accelerate the development of standardized, affordable, and sustainable grid components for the benefit of the entire industrial system at a global level. To this purpose, we launched the Open Power Grids Association: it is an open-source model that brings together network operators, manufacturers, research institutes and other stakeholders. This is in order to share and develop standards and technologies for critical grid components that comply with carbon neutrality requirements, so as to create truly sustainable grids.
“The future of the world depends on the acceleration and success of the energy transition. The grid plays the important role of enabling this change, supporting the processes of decarbonization and electrification.”
Antonio Cammisecra, Head of Enel Grids