Innovation Transforming the Energy Industry

Published on Monday, 23 June 2014

At Enel, innovation isn't just a question of technology. The energy industry is undergoing an historic transformation across the entire sector, from primary sources to energy generation, distribution and consumption. Technology is driving this change and generating in turn a demand for innovation.

Diversifying technology has turned Enel into a major global energy operator, to the point that it has a first mover advantage in a number of emerging nations in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe, the latter of which having a long-term Group presence. The technologies and resources it has in the pipeline, combined with diversified energy sources, give Enel both stability and flexibility despite the uncertain global economy.

Development of new renewable energy sources shows the leading role of technology in the continuous transformation of the energy sector. Development of technology is improving the performance and reducing the cost of solar and wind power, while innovation is pushing new solutions such as wave power, which Enel is testing through its R115 generator, towards being market ready. Plus, the evolution of the entire electricity system is being driven by smart grids and the spread of distributed generation.

Innovation is also arriving in management, as well as in organisation and business models. Enel's global expansion allows the Group to share its best practices and expertise on generation and distribution efficiency, use of resources and the identification of areas of investment. The record-breaking performance levels achieved in the USA by optimising Operations & Maintenance activities, or the sharing of knowledge between the Group's smart city projects in Europe and Latin America, show the improvements innovation has made both in activities and the the restructuring of management processes.

Development of technology produces new business models and as such requires the outlining of new regulatory systems. The impact of distributed generation, the development of energy storage technologies and the establishment of Big Data along the entire energy supply chain are some of the elements that have driven transformation of the entire sector. Energy companies, institutions and agencies need to respond to the demand for innovation in their policies, regulatory frameworks and business models in order to maintain the reliability of the energy system and the security of supply and both to stimulate the continuous innovation that the market requires.