They are the keepers of a treasure, a careful and silent presence. Daily, Enel's dam guards watch over the large facilities which, in many countries across the world, play a central role in helping to generate clean energy for the daily life of entire cities and regions.
Hydroelectric plants form a world in themselves. There are various types, run-the-river, basin-based, with storage systems. Within the great family of renewable energy facilities, they have the most significant history and are often the most powerful.
“In Italy we operate more than 480 hydropower plants, in Spain more than 130. And in all the countries in the Americas where we are present we operate plants that generate electricity from water.”
Many of the hydropower plants currently operating in the world are built around dams, both large and small. The care of these masterpieces of engineering, imagination and will is entrusted to men and women who are daily engaged in a unique task.
Between nature and technology
Taking care of a dam means being immersed in a continuous dialogue with nature, which demands respect and returns its energy in exchange. You have to work every day, combining the patience of a monk and the expertise of a technician.
Measuring, monitoring and inspecting according to a precise schedule. A dam needs constant auscultation. And by repeating simple daily gestures, technology becomes increasingly important and effective.
“In the digital age, processors, high-tech devices and even underwater drones help us make increasingly accurate analyses and controls.”
An ageless job
At an altitude of 2100 metres on the Cavia lake, in the province of Belluno (Italy), today you can also find 20-year old Federica Sponga, who is a stable member of the team that watches over Enel Green Power's dam.
In the heart of the Maritime Alps in the province of Cuneo (Italy), two 30-year old young men are taking care of the Chiotas dam, the largest one in Italy and one of the biggest ones in Europe: Mauro Giordana and Marco Sardello.