An incredible time for energy

Published on Thursday, 5 January 2017

Over the last three years, the Enel Group has undergone a profound metamorphosis, simplifying its organisational structure at a global level, changing its strategy in the business model and reaching major economic goals a year in advance of schedule.

Francesco Starace, the company's CEO, told about the work done since 2014 and the new challenges awaiting the Italian multinational in an in-depth interview with The CNBC Conversation. As the Enel CEO explained, the energy business needs to be framed in a global context which is experiencing rapid changes driven by technological innovation. In the light of this transformation, our company has reviewed its 2017-2019 Strategic Plan which it presented in London on 22 November 2016 to include the digitalisation of its assets among the main pillars for its growth.

Starace stressed that for the electricity industry “this is an incredible time because digitalisation and technology are changing the way we use electricity in everyday life. Today we can use electricity to do things that were once done using other types of energy."

This scenario opens up many opportunities for growth. According to Starace, for a utility like Enel one of the most important is linked with e-mobility and with the automotive industry for the development of engines and more affordable electric vehicles with increasingly greater autonomy. In this field our company is working on innovative solutions with the Vehicle to Grid project and with the collaboration with Formula E, the Formula 1 of electric cars.

As the CEO noted, the new role of electricity, as an innovative energy carrier, is changing the approach to the market and has driven Enel to focus decisively on renewable energy sources—with the aim of achieving the decarbonisation of electricity generation by 2050—and on the digitalisation of grids.

Smart grids and increasingly more efficient battery systems are the technologies that can favour the dissemination of electric mobility, reaching increasing numbers of users.

Prompted by the questions of Steve Sedgwick, the journalist of the British network, Starace focussed on some of the most important challenges for the energy industry, the first and foremost of which are the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and on the possibility of meeting electricity demand in a sustainable way by building smaller, more flexible environmentally friendly plants that can generate value for local communities.