Sustainability, a Pillar for Enel

Published on Thursday, 21 May 2015

During the recent conference, 'The Role of Business for Sustainable Development', held in Rome at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, representatives discussed the alliance between businesses and non-profit organisations, in addition to two significant current challenges: respect for human rights and inclusive finance. Enel has long been involved in international projects, and it is one of the largest companies participating in the Global Compact LEAD, a United Nations initiative that brings together the world's largest companies that are committed to the integration of sustainability into their business practices.

Andrea Valcalda, Enel's Head of Sustainability spoke on behalf of the Group: 'Enel is an active promoter of development in all the areas in which it operates. To establish a relationship with the local community from the very beginning of operations is a crucial step for all business activities. Even more so for a company that operates in the power sector: a key service for the development of territories, to eradicate poverty and improve health security.' In areas that lack electricity, heavily polluting materials are used to cook, heat, and light homes.

An excellent example of development for the territory is an investment made by Enel Green Power in Ollagüe, a town in the north of Chile, on the border with Bolivia. 'We went to the village to explore the opportunity to build renewable energy plants, due to the presence of solar and geothermal resources,' explained Valcalda. 'This community was in great need of electricity, due to its remote location and lack of connection to the power grid. Its inhabitants, approximately 200 people, received power from an old diesel generator that was active a few hours a day. Our colleagues at EGP developed a new hybrid generation plant (PV and small wind turbines) and an electrochemical storage system that helps ensure power supply in the area 24 hours a day.'

Therefore, the community is undergoing both social and economic development, in addition to technological development through Enel's initiatives and testing of innovative solutions in the area. The solar panels used in Ollagüe come from the 3SUN factory in Catania, while the energy storage system that is connected to renewable sources is one of the great technological innovations of the near future.

Enel's commitment is not limited to new business areas: 'We are teaching Brazilian communities in Rio de Janeiro suburbs, who have low incomes and have trouble paying their electric bill, how to make better use of energy and thus reduce consumption and wastage. We are facing a different challenge in Italy and Spain: the development of new facilities will be limited and there will be a reduction of the traditional electricity generation park. However, as long term operators, we cannot lose contact with the territory and must always be very careful and active in the management of our relationship with stakeholders,' concluded Valcalda.