Water and energy, efficiency out of every last drop

Published on Friday, 8 July 2016

A better planet for future generations” is the main driver behind Enel’s choice to make environmental protection and the creation of shared value the basis for its business strategy.

The Group highlighted these issues at the sustainability week in Peru: an intensive programme held from 4 to 8 July, featuring a series of events that have given managers and employees a full overview of the relationship between business management and the challenges that sustainability entails.

The protection of water resources plays a key role in this context. “Water Day” was the central theme of the second day of events, which focused on the preservation and protection of such a valuable resource. Water not only covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, it also translates into employment. In fact, half of the workers around the world carry out activities tied to water.

The theme was also covered during “Green Day”, an event dedicated to the reuse and recycling of waste, as well as good habits to protect the environment. An example in this direction is that of the Malacas plant in Peru, where its efficient use of water is one of the best green practices that has allowed the facility to be recorded in the Environmental Good Practices Book (RBPA) of the Environmental Assessment and tax exemption Control Body (OEFA).

As most of our power generation facilities, the Malacas plant obtained an ISO 14001 certification for its Environmental Management System (EMS). In fact, a third and independent body assessed the validity of the systems that were put in place to manage and minimise environmental impact, in order to reduce waste and prevent negative setbacks. This method allows us to be increasingly efficient when using the Planet’s precious resources such as water – particularly fresh water, which only accounts for 0.65 percent of the world’s water.

Enel has established specific guidelines for the integrated management of water resources, including: the efficient use of resources and protection of water quality in production processes; sewage treatment and its minimisation; management of releases from hydroelectric power plants through specific programmes to guarantee the volumes necessary to preserve the ecological status of rivers (minimum vital outflow); integrated management of water basins to preserve the multiple uses of the land and water quality.

In 2015, the specific consumption of water in our global systems amounted to just over half a liter per kWh (0.6 l/kWh), enabling us to reach the 10 percent reduction target (compared to the 2010 figure) five years in advance. Compared to figures recorded in 2010, Enel’s new objective was a 30 percent reduction in specific water consumption per kWh by 2020. In addition, last year only 6 percent of the Group’s total production used and/or consumed freshwater in water-stressed areas.

In 2015, we reduced draw offs from scarce sources by 6 percent compared to 2014, while increasing the percentage of use of effluents from production processes (3.9 percent of total draw offs), with 99 percent of the water used in Enel power plants returned (this percentage corresponds to the water used in open cycles for cooling).

Today, Enel continues its commitment to reducing water consumption, by supporting reuse and multiple use systems as much as possible. The key points of our water resource management are: performance measurement (specific consumption, pollution load of wastewater), definition of policies and specific targets (such as the new public objective for 2020), constant updates and studies on European and international legislations to set out possible future scenarios.