Innovation will be key to responding to the coming challenges of the energy market and anticipate developments in technology. Enel is fully aware of this, and over the years it has invested in a wide range of technologically innovation projects. Last year it invested €76 million in 234 research and innovation projects.
Of this investment, 44 percent has been used in the development of renewable energy, focusing on PV and thermodynamic solar power, geothermal power, wind power, hydropower, biomass and ocean energy.
Enel's laboratories in the Sicilian city of Catania have outlined prediction models for the degradation of solar PV modules, as well as carrying out life cycle assessments and the management of the end of a plant's life. Last year the R115 ocean generator was also put into service off the coast of Punta Righini in Tuscany.
Twenty-seven percent was invested in traditional generation, increasing plant efficiency, cutting emissions, carbon capture and storage and advanced diagnostics and automation.
The development of smart grids was allocated 21 percent, which was used in projects such as Isernia-Carpinone, which was aimed at increasing grid efficiency and the improving the quality of the services offered to customers.
The remaining eight percent was invested in research on end use – such as energy efficiency, distributed generation, electric mobility and smart cities – in Europe and Latin America.
Innovation is also implemented in the business through tools such as the technology map, the use of IT platforms to manage innovation and industrial property rights projects, as well as EIDOS, the crowdsourcing tool created to provide a forum for the ideas of all Enel employees.