This year, we’re celebrating 60 years of Enel: a company created to unite Italy and its energy. It now leads the international revolution in renewables and digital grids. We are conducting that revolution sustainably and innovatively, to decarbonize energy another of great turbulence generation and to electrify consumption, promoting a just transition.
The year 2022 was, characterized by converging crises: the continuation of the pandemic, the effects of climate change, economic uncertainty, dramatic conflicts that caused tensions in the energy commodity market and contributed to the exacerbation of inequalities and volatility in the supply chain.
The context has clarified the need to shift to an approach not limited to resistance during discontinuities, but able to innovate radically and constantly, anticipating and guiding the now-constant changes, to progressively reduce the business-related risks over time and to produce greater economic and social value.
Enel has been adopting this approach for years: it has reduced dependence on fossil fuels and supplies from individual countries, decarbonized its energy generation, digitalized infrastructure, electrified consumption and created an innovation ecosystem, involving over 500,000 people from different countries, universities and about 600 startups. We can therefore monitor technological discontinuities and social inequalities and innovate to transform them into a source of competitive advantage, rather than merely undergo them.
A concrete example of this approach is the expansion of 3SUN in Italy. By 2024, it is due to become the largest solar panel factory in Europe, with a production capacity of 3 GW per year, and will use a world-first innovative technology with a replicable business model, which will be useful to strengthen our independence in the value chain.
Our ability to innovate has also enabled us to create Gridspertise, a company that assists other global operators in the digitalization of distribution networks. Gridspertise was established as a result of the innovations generated by collaborating with startups and leaders from other sectors. Together with them, we have created QEd, a revolutionary solution to digitalize various hardware components in the grid, thus saving costs and raw materials.
Other examples are innovations in the storage sector, such as the completion in Tuscany in 2022 – with the collaboration of an Israeli startup – of the first thermal storage system in the world based on common stones, with no dependence on critical raw materials or use of chemical components.
To increasingly free ourselves from fluctuations in the price of commodities, in 2022 we accelerated the decarbonization of power generation, continuing the development of new renewable capacity and the decommissioning of fossil plants, such as the Bocamina II coal-fired power plant in Chile. Its recent closure means we have become the first electricity company to no longer use coal in the country.
From photovoltaic panels to mini-wind farms, multiple technologies can assist in improving the reliability of the energy system. Customers can also become producers or can reduce the cost of energy, accelerating the path towards an electrified future. We remained the leader in demand response, with 8.5 GW of capacity managed for energy consumption. Electrification also entails electric mobility, which we are supporting by expanding the infrastructure, with 22,600 owned public charging points installed globally in the last year, and with the development of new technologies and flexible services to improve the customer experience.
Another key element of our ecosystem is the more than 172,000 suppliers, thanks to which we can innovate and make our value chain more and more decarbonized and sustainable. We are supporting them towards a sustainable growth that can increase their competitiveness and efficiency, by means of tangible development initiatives and access to services at advantageous conditions.
Constant dialog with the communities in the countries where we operate enables us to jointly construct projects and solutions that respond to common priorities, promote local development and result in the creation of shared value in the long term. In 2022, there were already around 5 million global beneficiaries of our projects to foster sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
In Italy, we’ve been focusing on students leaving school too soon, on access to the world of work for the new generations and on training in the new skills required by the energy transition, including via the circularity of professions linked to the previous energy model, through reskilling and upskilling programs. The School4Life project – intended to support students and teachers to prevent early school leaving – will involve about 15,000 students in the two years from 2022 to 2023, whereas the Energie per Crescere (Energy for Growth) program, extended in early 2023 from the grids to the renewable generation sector, will provide technical training to 5,500 young people.
A key element in the strategy is our people: now as much as throughout the 60 years of our history, they design the future of energy systems, with dedication and spirit of service even at the most difficult times and in the most extreme conditions.
Our people have understood – and have helped others to understand – the great value of the resource we work with, and the necessity to use it efficiently and responsibly. By sharing our purpose of “Open power for a brighter future” on a broader scale, we commit to making the energy system more and more safe and sustainable for our stakeholders.
Chief Executive Officer and General Manager