In its report 'Net Zero by 2050', the International Energy Agency (IEA) makes it clear: the road to a zero-emissions economy is a narrow one that leaves no room for detours or setbacks, and requires “the immediate and massive deployment of all available clean and efficient energy technologies”. In particular, it requires a rapid scaling up in the use of solar and wind energy within the next decade. This means that the use of these technologies must not only increase, but that every year from now on must achieve greater increases in installed capacity than the year before.
Big numbers, growing ambitions
In the field of clean energy there’s no time to rest on our laurels, and every achievement is a step toward more ambitious ones. So, for us at Enel Green Power, the record results we achieved in 2021 were surpassed by those of 2022. This was not a foregone conclusion, given the supply chain crisis linked to the geopolitical tensions and the energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine. Yet in none of the previous years had we generated so much electricity from renewable sources, nor had we installed so much new capacity. We produced around 124 TWh in total (compared to 119 TWh in 2021), of which more than 50% (66 TWh) was generated by wind and solar power. We installed and put into production new capacity amounting to 5,223 MW, compared to 5,120 MW in 2021, thanks to over 80 plants split between solar and wind energy. In addition, we have 387 MW of battery storage, offering an element of flexibility that is becoming increasingly strategic in the energy transition we are currently experiencing.
Along with our commitment to accelerate on the renewables front, we’re continuing the process of deconstructing and re-purposing our coal-fired power plants, and in 2022 Enel became the first company in Chile to stop using coal to generate electricity. As a result, the Group remains on track to achieve the SBTi certified target of 72 gCO2eq/kWh by 2030, with a formal commitment to an intermediate target of 130 gCO2eq/kWh by 2025.
In 2022, Enel was also ranked number one in Corporate Knights' Carbon Reduction 20 index for having reduced its CO2 emissions more than any other company on the planet in the last ten years, while doubling its market value and expanding its workforce through investments in renewable energy and grid modernization.
Renewable Growth: toward 2025 and beyond
But records, as we’ve said, are made to be broken year after year, if we are to stay on that narrow path toward our Net Zero goal. Once again, the IEA's calculations speak for themselves: the rate of growth in renewables must reach annual additions of 630 GW more solar and 390 GW more wind power by 2030: four times the new global installations in 2020. This is energy that must support the electrification of sectors such as private transportation and domestic heating, which until now have been almost entirely reliant on fossil fuels. What's more, our Group has set itself even more challenging goals than the global ones: to produce 100% of our energy from renewable sources by 2040, a full 10 years ahead of the global targets, achieving our goal of zero emissions by that same year.
That’s why it’s important to look at other figures as well, ones that relate to the medium and long term – such as the new generation capacity from renewables that was under construction at the end of the year: 67 plants amounting to approximately 7,200 MW; again, the highest figure ever. These figures put us on the right track toward our goal, included in our latest strategic plan, of reaching 75 GW of installed capacity by 2025 or 82% (excluding nuclear) of total installed capacity.
Investment in the supply chain
In the coming years, we’ll also focus on a strategic element for the growth of renewables in the markets in which we operate, namely independence in the production of photovoltaic panels. Our 3Sun PV module factory in Catania, which was established in 2010 and has grown steadily, is about to become a veritable Gigafactory, thanks in part to a significant grant from the European Fund for Innovation. In fact, with the TANGO (iTaliAN pv Giga factOry) project, by July 2024, 3Sun will see its annual production capacity grow by a factor of 15, from the current 200 MW to 3 GW, becoming the largest PV panel factory in Europe.
Our Gigafactory will help raise efficiency standards in the market while improving the reliability and sustainability of the panels being produced, and it will make an important contribution to the growth and maintenance of a solar supply chain in Europe, while also growing the industrial cluster of technological excellence in the Etna area, providing around 1,900 direct and indirect jobs.
I would like to conclude with a heartfelt word of thanks to all the colleagues who have enabled us to achieve these results. People who work every day, with passion and talent, to make our Mission a reality: "Promoting progress with sustainable energy", investing in the development of renewable sources and in innovation, together with our partners and the communities that host our plants.
It is my wish and my pledge to continue to work together toward ever more ambitious results.