Next-generation electric home appliances and heating, LED lights, apps for remotely managing household consumption, construction materials that help insulate buildings and small renewable plants for the self-generation of electricity. The list of energy technologies and products that allow reducing energy waste and saving power in daily consumption is getting longer and longer.
"Energy efficiency" is a (winning) formula that is now commonly used for the various solutions that enhance energy end use. But the path that leads to this result is longer that we might think, and not only because heat pump water heaters, class A+++ fridges, smart metering devices and carbon-absorbing ecological cement – among other examples – are the result of a journey of research and innovation that started long ago and is constantly evolving.
The road of efficiency that brings sustainable energy to our homes starts faraway. In fact, energy efficiency also involves electricity generation and distribution, and to this end energy companies are engaged in wide-ranging projects and innovations regarding traditional plant greening, the development of new renewable technologies, electric line automation and the use of big data to enhance the efficiency of plants and distribution grids.
Enel's energy efficiency is a full-featured programme that spans from research on next generation solar PV panels to the first storage systems embedded in wind and solar plants at Catania and Potenza Pietragalla (Italy) and from high and medium voltage distribution grids to the introduction of turbines guaranteeing higher output at hydroelectric plants, and solutions that make thermal plants more "flexible," as well as the upgrading of converter substations in Romania and Colombia and second generation Work Force Management systems for optimizing management of operations on the ground.
The target of efficient energy follows a long and diversified path that, in order to reach consumers, must start from the first step of the journey that brings electricity to our homes. And on this journey, digital technology and innovation are speeding up the efficiency-enhancing advances of the entire electricity sector, which is heading towards a complete transformation based on environmental and economic sustainability, benefitting energy companies, communities and end users.