Innovation and Sustainability: a Winning Team

Published on Wednesday, 7 January 2015

There is no sustainability without innovation, nor can any innovation exist that is not sustainable. The new energy scene is forcing utilities and producers to change business criteria and models, and innovation has become the only way to stay on the market, let alone compete with others.

The list of Enel innovations is long and its cutting-edge solutions and products involve the whole energy supply chain and all energy sources. Particularly important Group innovations include the electronic meter and the smart metering systems that followed its creation, as well as ultra-supercritical boilers, and fume reduction systems at thermal power plants, AMIS systems at geothermal facilities and charging stations for electric cars, including fast charge technology.

In the digital age, not only large research centres and multinational companies, but also start-ups, small businesses and even individual inventors create new solutions and realise ideas that revolutionise entire markets. Today, innovation is the result of interaction between different groups, and its development forms a global network of relations in which big business and makers have become partners.

Open innovation is a new model developed with the philosophy that good ideas can come from anywhere, and for multinationals this applies both in their relations with start-ups and innovative businesses and within the company itself. Thanks to its open innovation, Enel is adopting new green technologies – well-known examples include the R115 marine generator conceived and manufactured by 40South Energy and the Trinum thermodynamic cogeneration system developed by Innova – while also creating solutions that target a number of fields in the energy sector that originate from the creativity and expertise of Group employees.

Enel's corporate crowdsourcing has already led to innovations like the 'briefcase' that monitors the functioning of meters and the chip that remotely checks consumer consumption conceived by Ampla's employees in Brazil. It also brought about the 241 ideas for improve the efficiency of hydro facilities in Spain, which were proposed by 85 Endesa employees and carried out within the Busca y Encuentra Mejoras initiative.