Zero Emissions Day – a day to allow the planet to breathe

Zero Emissions Day – a day to allow the planet to breathe

An annual world action day with Zero Emissions as its goal to encourage us to reflect on our energy habits and accelerate the journey to decarbonization.


World Zero Emissions Day takes place on September 21. It consists of 24 hours during which, through our communal effort, the Planet will be able to take a break from CO2, greenhouse gases and other substances that cause atmospheric pollution. The instructions are very simple indeed: don’t use energy generated by fossil fuels, like gasoline and diesel, gas or coal, and minimize the use of electric power that doesn’t come from renewable sources. All, naturally, while keeping essential and emergency services running in order to avoid risking people’s health.


More responsible energy consumption

The idea began in 2008 in Nova Scotia, Canada, when activist Ken Wallace launched the official ZeDay, with a very precise slogan: “Giving our Planet a day off a year.” In a short space of time, it evolved into a major global movement with events, awareness-raising campaigns and lessons in schools. The aim is not just to allow the Earth to breathe but also to make all of us more responsible about our energy consumption: our everyday energy choices, which are often dictated by a hectic routine that doesn’t leave any time to sit down and think, are actually the key to creating powerful cultural change. 

The mobility sector, for instance, is currently responsible for around a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. For one day a year, we can choose to make the journey to work by bike or train. Both are far greener choices than traditional vehicles – with the exception of e-cars – thanks in part also to a growing renewables-derived energy mix.

We can also simply disconnect all non-essential devices at home such as TVs, computers and other electronic devices. It’s a small gesture on Zero Emissions Day to remind ourselves that commitment to the energy transition starts with us each and every day through the choices we make.


Enel’s commitment to decarbonization

Not all electricity is generated in the same way and, on a global level, electric energy production from fossil fuels contributes to the emissions that are causing climate change. It is therefore vitally important to produce electricity without CO2 emissions: at the moment, 66% of the Enel Group’s energy is generated in this way and we are committed to increasing that figure to 85% by 2030. We have also doubled down on our commitment to completely eliminating the use of fossil fuels, by bringing our target date forward from 2050 to 2040.

Each year, we invest in building new plants that produce only clean energy using renewable sources such as sun, wind and water. We are one of the largest companies in the world in terms of installed renewable capacity, which accounts for 60% of our total capacity, and our goal is to make that 80% by 2030.  

Obviously, our commitment also extends to our customers whom we are providing with the tools required to play an active role in the current energy transition. Through the Demand Response services offered by Enel X Global Retail, companies can earn revenue by selling any excess energy they generate or they can use our storage systems to store energy generated from renewable sources and then draw on it at peak times. Today our Demand Response services have a capacity of 8 GW but we have set ourselves a target of 20 GW by 2030. 


Precise targets

The transport sector can and must make a fundamental contribution to cutting emissions. Electric mobility is not a mirage; the rapid development of this particular market proves that the technology has matured and is now ready to take the place of traditional combustion engine vehicles. Right now, we are managing over 380,000 charging points for e-car users, and we are committed to installing over five million by 2030. 

At the same time, we are constantly working to drive the digitalization of grids and services. As pioneers of smart meters – digital devices we began using as a replacement for traditional mechanical electricity meters for consumers – we are aiming to have upped their number from the 45.3 million currently installed to over 80 million worldwide by 2030.  

Furthermore, we feel that battery storage is the key to achieving zero CO2 emissions and so we are aiming to reach around 10,000 MW of battery storage by 2030 compared to the 448 MW-plus currently available, in order to guarantee a complete and just energy transition.