Electrification, energy efficiency, smart cities and mobility
Electrification, energy efficiency, smart cities and mobility
The key to tackling the challenge posed by climate change is to generate more and more electricity from renewable sources, i.e., without producing greenhouse gas emissions, and to transfer the benefits offered by a decarbonized electricity carrier to other sectors, such as transportation and construction. Furthermore, it is also essential to transform today’s power grids into smart grids, to enable them to manage increasingly decentralized generation, two-way energy flows, and a growing demand for electricity.
Innovation for renewables
Enel is putting a significant amount of effort into pursuing the energy transition path, starting with the ever-expanding employment of renewable energy sources. We’re currently operating plants and conducting projects in 30 countries across five continents, activities that make us one of the planet’s leading producers of clean energy.
This effort also means running highly innovative projects, such as that launched in Spain by Enel X Global Retail on the Albolote Canal, near Granada, in Andalusia. Here, we’ve established an agreement with the community of irrigators that utilize the canal to enable the installation of 345 floating solar panels to power the irrigation systems. This will result in significant annual savings for the community and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 61,300 kg each year.
And another part of Spain, the Huelva region, is where we have established an agreement with Atalaya Mining to equip its mines with a solar power plant that’s capable of meeting 25% of its energy needs. This plant, which consists of 75,765 panels, reduces CO2 emissions by 40,000 tons each year.
Energy storage projects
To address the intermittent nature of generating electricity from renewable sources, we’re driving forward the adoption of systems for storing the surplus electricity generated at peak times so as to enable it to be utilized subsequently. We’re focusing much of our efforts on the development of new battery storage systems: for example, through the creation of the X-Lab Storage facility at the Enel Innovation Hub & Lab in Catania. It has almost been completed and will be used to test batteries already on the market or which have been developed by Enel X startups and partners. The Innovation Hub in Catania is one of nine that our group has established around the world, with the aim of facilitating the energy transition process and developing innovative solutions to make it increasingly more efficient and sustainable.
Towards smart grids
We’re also working to transform electricity distribution networks into increasingly resilient, participative and sustainable digital platforms. This will be made possible, on the one hand, by the innovative grid technologies and solutions being developed by Enel Grids - starting with next-generation electronic meters - and, on the other, by a portfolio of technical and commercial services offered to customers to enable them to manage their energy consumption more efficiently. For this purpose, Enel X has developed DER.OS (Distributed Energy Resource Optimization Software), software. This enables users (for example, managers of residential buildings or production sites) to monitor, via the cloud, their consumption and the energy loads of any connected equipment and machinery, and to manage the use of electricity and storage systems from a centralized dashboard.
The electrification of consumption
For electrification to come to fruition, people must first and foremost find it useful, and this needs to be evident in the daily choices they make. To this end, Enel X has developed a wide range of products and services to make the electrification of homes simple, safe and sustainable, as well as beneficial. For example, heat pump air conditioning systems are three times more efficient than gas boilers for domestic heating and save an average of 40% on utility bills under the same temperature conditions. Furthermore, photovoltaic systems enable the self-generation of electricity from the sun, giving the user up to 90% energy independence if the system is equipped with a storage facility; and, even considering less powerful systems, such as Plug&Play, which can be installed on a balcony or in the space under a window, genuine benefits are achievable with up to 25% savings on utility bills. Moreover, induction hobs are twice as efficient as gas hobs.
In many of the countries where we operate, we incentivize the use of such devices in order to make homes more efficient and sustainable, both environmentally and financially. In 2021, we installed approximately 45,000 energy-efficient heat pumps and more than 5,000 photovoltaic systems (some with storage systems) for our residential customers in Europe and Latin America, enabling a total reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 14,000 tons.
Smart cities are the future
These services are part of the group's broader effort to improve the overall quality of life and create the smart cities of the future. An effort we consider fundamental, since 50% of the world's population already lives in urban areas, generating 70% of the emissions that are responsible for climate change. In order to create these smart cities, we’re proposing solutions that aren’t just aimed at mobility, but also at efficient public lighting, energy efficiency in public buildings, urban design, and digital services to exploit the potential offered by the Internet of Things for managing cities.
Rewards for those who collaborate
We’ve also launched a service called Demand Response, in 16 countries and with over 7,700 MW of managed flexible capacity. It gives commercial and industrial consumers the possibility to modulate their energy consumption or production based on the generation peaks predicted by the electricity suppliers or dispatching services market operators. In return for their contribution in terms of assisting with the running of the grid, the companies taking part receive a remuneration. Enel X has developed commercial packages tailored to the specific needs of companies.
A new type of mobility
At the same time, through Enel X Way, we’re driving e-mobility forward with the development and widespread installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across Italy and around the world. We currently operate more than 340,000 charging points, both directly and through interoperability agreements.
We’re working to install a dense network of public charging points, from those distributed throughout cities to charging stations positioned along highways. They are all interconnected and easily located via our JuicePass App. We also offer services for home charging and the simplified management of electric vehicle fleets for all those businesses looking to move into the e-mobility era.
In short, electrification and the extensive use of digital technologies are essential if we’re to achieve the goal of running our homes, mobility and cities more efficiently. A more virtuous approach from individuals and businesses combined with innovation will transform our lifestyles, making them more sustainable and promoting the circular economy.