History is a collective endeavour that can result in epoch-marking changes. Perhaps the most important today concerns the management of the environment: the world is becoming increasingly aware of the fact that the reckless use of natural resources is no longer sustainable for the planet, and no longer makes sense from either an economic or social perspective. Today, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we should remind everyone of this fact.
The most urgent environmental problem is the climate crisis, and the most incisive way to tackle this is by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in energy generation through a shift from fossil fuels to renewables.
The rise of renewable forms of energy
The advance of history is a continuous process, and not a series of leaps and bounds. There are, however, symbolic moments when an overriding trend becomes evident for everyone and it is no longer possible to turn back. 2019 was such a moment for our Group as this was the year in which the electricity we generated without producing greenhouse gas emissions passed the threshold of 50% of our total energy generation.
This is an important achievement and it is the result of a journey that was embarked upon in 2008 with the creation of Enel Green Power (EGP), the Group’s company dedicated to the development of renewables. At the time, such an undertaking seemed risky; many thought that clean forms of energy, which were then often referred to as “alternative”, were destined to remain marginal. We believed, however, that they were the energy of the future, and now we can say that they are the energy of the present: the future is already here.
With 46 GW of installed capacity today our Group is the world’s number one private operator in the renewables sector and is active in all of the main renewable energy sources, in some cases integrating different ones together, using cutting-edge technology. And one for all: we built the first triple hybrid power plant, in Stillwater in Nevada, combining three different types of technology all powered by renewable energy sources.
Zero emissions by 2050
Our technological diversity is also matched by our geographical diversity: we are present in more than 30 countries on five continents. We have brought our sustainable development model to both mature and emerging markets, in a variety of geographical locations: climate change does not recognise national borders so neither should our actions to combat it. And it is with a solid commitment all over the world that we are focusing on our most ambitious goal to make all of our electricity generation zero emission by 2050.
History is an endeavour that involves us all. We are playing our part by contributing to changing the face of energy: for example, when we ask our suppliers to respect our sustainability standards. More generally, we are leading the way for the entire sector by demonstrating that choices that many considered impossible can actually be achieved.
Obviously, we can’t do all of this by ourselves. The fact of the matter is that, if we have achieved these results, then it is because we have worked with others, establishing meaningful dialogue with the local communities in the areas where we work, listening to the needs of customers, and bringing out the best in the people who work with us.
We have adopted an Open Power approach: we are open to innovative ideas, wherever they may come from, both within the Group and outside it. The environmental challenge cannot afford to wait.