The Low-Carbon Energy Future Challenge

Published on Monday, 11 May 2015

How can a low-carbon future be built today? For Enel the answer coincides with the ability to integrate sustainability into every business field, ranging from governance, then strategic and investment development, all the way to operational activities, and with the active participation in this irreversible transformation that the electricity sector is undergoing.

At the 5th Sustainable Investing Annual Conference, promoted by the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment (Chicago, 4-6 May), the Group's expertise was at the centre of the panel called "Responding to Low-Carbon Energy Challenge", in which Enel's Head of Sustainability Andrea Valcalda took part.

"The acceleration of the pace of change driven by technology evolution is changing world energy needs, and consequently the way we generate, store, distribute and use electricity", Valcalda said. In this context, the evolution of the electricity sector at the global level is pushed by three main macro drivers:

  • In emerging markets, demand for quantitative growth in infrastructure investment is still needed to match demand growth.
  • In mature markets, demand for qualitative improvements is needed to cope with the turbulent technological evolution of these societies and the new customer needs this is bringing about.
  • A self-sustaining technological transformation is driving renewable generation growth globally across all markets and geographies, with implications that are wide and long lasting.

Within the new global energy scenario, Enel's vision is based on the awareness that "the right answer to the 'low-carbon energy challenge' is leading the way in transforming the energy business". And the strategic plan launched for the 2015-2019 five-year period, with more than €18 billion investment, focusing on renewable sources and distribution grids, documents that Enel aims "to lead this transition, rather than come under it".

Renewable sources, distributed generation and smart technology are three priorities in the Group's growth and development strategy that are also essential to respond to the energy divide that still affects large regions of the world and their inhabitants. In particular, Enel looks at Latin America's emerging economies as the context in which the long experience gained in Italy and in mature markets can be capitalised. On the other hand, it looks at mature markets as the context in which to continue and advance along the innovation path, which has allowed the Group to become a global benchmark in the fields of grid digitalisation, renewable energy and smart solutions.

Enel has reduced CO2 emissions by 36% over the last 25 years, a constant commitment that has gradually accelerated over time – between 2007 and 2014 a 15% reduction was achieved – and continues to fully grow in line with the long term target of carbon neutrality set for 2050, both through the implementation of the best technologies and by supporting the best international policies regarding carbon markets and carbon pricing.